The Litvak Jewish Music Tradition


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  • Speaker: Dmitri Slepovitch, The New School
  • Host Department: Judaic Studies, Frankel Center for
  • Date: 03/11/2014
  • Time: 04:00 PM - 06:30 PM

  • Location: Michigan Union, Pendleton Room, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor

  • Description:

    The subject of the lecture in question is the musical stratum of the Litvak (North-Eastern European) Ashkenazi Jewish community’s traditional culture throughout its documented history. Due to the lack of documentation referring the early periods of the Litvak community’s history, the period under review only covers 1800’s through the present.

    The main points of focus include:
    – the role of music, music-making, and music performers in the Litvak Jewish community; the distinctiveness of the Litvak community as compared to other major Ashkenazi Jewish communities during each given period;
    – the role of the high-contact cultures’ impact and facts of the cultural symbiosis in music, also compared to similar phenomena all across Eastern and Central Europe;
    – changes in music culture at the time of socio-political transformations;
    – the role of music ethnographic collections covering the Litvak region in representing the Jewish music culture in the present-day studies.

    In the second half of the presentation, Dmitri Slepovitch will perform excerpts from his multimedia concert Traveling the Yiddishland created on the basis of his and his research partner’s, Nina Stepanskaya’s collection.

    Sponsored by:  Judaic Studies, Humanities, Rackham, CREES, CWPS, International Institute