The Soul of a Machine
By Samantha Shokin for Tablet Magazine
How theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore’s life and loves shaped her eerie music
The theremin was the first electronic instrument to be mass-produced and the only instrument played without physical contact. Originally shaped like a box with two antennae, one for pitch control, the other for volume, its unmistakable sound has long been associated with vintage science fiction—warbling, eerie, inorganic. 2020 will mark the centennial of its invention by the Russian physicist Leon Theremin. But it was Clara Rockmore, considered by many to be the greatest thereminist in history, who elevated the instrument above novelty status, leading Theremin to fall in love with her.
12 Israeli Shows to Binge Watch Now That You’re Done with ‘Shtisel’
By Lior Zaltzman for Kveller
I love Shtisel, you love Shtisel, everybody loves Shtisel! The Israeli show, about an Ultra-Orthodox family of the same last name, is taking American audiences by storm. Streaming on Netflix, this show has been covered by the New York Times and even has a Facebook fan group with more than 6,000 fans.
Inside The Mind Of Arnold Schoenberg, The Genius Who Defined 20th Century Music
Talya Zax for The Forward
What happens in the mind of a genius?
Mozart’s mind was puerile; if his extraordinary sophistication with music extended to other aspects of his psyche, he didn’t show it. Van Gogh was subject to psychotic episodes, a struggle that may have impacted his work, although we can only speculate. Bits of Einstein’s brain are preserved in Philadelphia for scientific research. But the brain and mind are linked in profound and complex ways, and science may only be able to look so far.
Jewish Music 101
Music has been a part of Jewish life since biblical times, and remains integral to the Jewish religious and cultural experiences.
At the moment of Israel’s birth as a nation — the Exodus from Egypt — the Bible tells us that Moses led the people of Israel in a song of divine praise. Music was part of the sacrificial worship in the Temple, and later became part of synagogue prayer services and at-home religious observance. Jewish music tends to blend unique elements with aspects that reflect the cultures in which Jews have lived, composed, played instruments, and sung.
Dear Erich: An Exciting Addition to the Jazz Opera Repertory
By Aron Hirt-Manheimer for ReformJudaism.org
Dear Erich: A Jazz Opera, co-produced by the New York City Opera and National Yiddish Theatre Folkbiene, premiered in January 2019 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan to standing ovations. The music is by Ted Rosenthal, the world-renowned jazz pianist and composer; he and Lesley Rosenthal wrote the libretto.
Ted Rosenthal conceived Dear Erich after learning the contents of 200 letters, written mostly by his grandmother, Herta, trapped in Nazi Germany, to his father, safe in America.