James Loeffler is the author of The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire and co-editor of The Idelsohn Project.
The cantor opposed the gramophone as a desecration of religion. The capitalist saw its potential as secular commodity. An early-20th-century tale of piety versus profit—and Zionism.
Israeli Jews and diaspora Jews: one people divided by a common tongue
The 60th anniversary of Jan Peerce’s landmark Cold War Moscow show, where a final encore pointed the way to deliverance
A recent wave of performances turns Jewish composers into shadow images defined only by their status as Hitler’s victims
Idan Raichel mixes traditional Ethiopian music, prayers, and funky beats to create dance tracks that speak to young Israelis
A hipster scholar makes room on his provocative playlist for the jubilant, in-your-face shtick of Mickey Katz
Madonna, Gwen Stefani, and the pliability of Jewish music
A dubious portrait of Shostakovich as dissident has been debunked, but motifs in his work underscore his discord with Soviet power.