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Passing the Torch: Jewish Music Archives and the Future of Yiddish Song
April 6, 2014

SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2014 | 11am
Click HERE to watch the video of this program in YIVO's Program Archive.

Chair: Mark Slobin, Wesleyan University

Admission: General - $10 | YIVO members, seniors and students - $7
Box Office: | 212.868.4444

Around 1900, East European Jews became acutely aware of the impact of modernization and urbanization on their culture: on their songs, their tales, and customs. They set in motion a wide range of projects and institutions to gather, archive, and study fading folklore. YIVO was a pioneer in this push, along with a galaxy of Polish and Russian (later Soviet) activists. Today, with the loss of the original population and the huge demographic and cultural shifts of world Jewry, the surviving archives both preserve and channel a rising tide of interest, even a hunger, for what’s called “Yiddish” music and folklore.

This symposium brings together archivists, scholars and performers to discuss the history and creation of Yiddish folk music archives, and the future of the study and performance of Yiddish song today. What is the role of Jewish music archives in fostering new scholarship and Yiddish music?

The event is dedicated to the memory of Chana Mlotek, YIVO’s Music Archivist from 1978 until her recent passing at age 91 in 2013.

This program is made possible with the generous support of the Mlotek family. It is co-sponsored by the American Society for Jewish Music.


Panel 1: Jewish Music Archives: Structuring a Passion for Folksong

In the Beginning Were Ginzburg and Marek: A Brief History of Yiddish Folksong Collecting
Robert Rothstein, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Hobn Mir A Nigndl”: The Songs Our Israeli Grandchildren Don't Sing
Yiddish Song Collections at the National Library of Israel as a Source for Research
Gila Flam, National Library of Israel

Rediscovering Yiddish Folk Songs in Ukraine: History, Archival Access and Future
Lyudmila Sholokhova, YIVO Institute

Songs of Generations: Contributions of Chana Mlotek
Mark Slobin, Wesleyan University

Performance and Presentation of Materials from the Ruth Rubin Archive at YIVO

זאָג מיר, מײַן שוועסטער
Zog mir, mayn shvester/Tell Me, My Sister: Working with the Ruth Rubin Archive
Lorin Sklamberg, The Klezmatics, YIVO Institute

Panel 2: Passing the Torch: Archives and Activism in the 21st Century

Roundtable discussion with: Mark Slobin, Wesleyan University (Moderator); Gila Flam, National Library of Israel; Mark Kligman, Hebrew Union College, Columbia University; Hankus Netsky, New England Conservatory; and Lorin Sklamberg, The Klezmatics, YIVO Institute


Mark Slobin is the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music at Wesleyan University and the author or editor of many books, on Afghanistan and Central Asia, eastern European Jewish music, and ethnomusicology theory, two of which have received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award: Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World (Oxford University Press) and Tenement Songs: Popular Music of the Jewish Immigrants (University of Illinois Press). He has been President of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Society for Asian Music.

Venue: YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History  |  15 West 16th Street - NYC   view map

For directions and parking information, click here.

All public programs are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of assistive listening devices are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals upon request.