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Open Secret: The Jewish Sound in Soviet Music
Sidney Krum Young Artists Concert Series
May 4 2014

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014 | 3pm

Click HERE to watch the video.

James Loeffler, University of Virginia; Yuval Waldman, Artistic Director of the Sidney Krum Concert Series

Before World War II, the Soviet Union was the only country in the world to officially promote Jewish music. After World War II, Soviet authorities declared that Jewish music did not exist. Yet all along, major Soviet composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Miecyzslaw Weinberg, and Mikhail Gnesin found deep inspiration in the sounds of Ashkenazi Jewish folk music. How did these composers manage to weave Jewish themes into some of the most stirring music of postwar Soviet society? How did they personally navigate the ongoing strictures of artistic censorship and the periodic cycles of antisemitic repression? In this YIVO event, Professor James Loeffler, Yuval Waldman and the young artists of the Krum Concert Series explored these questions through a unique pairing of music and words.

The Sidney Krum Young Artists Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from the Estate of Sidney Krum. Additional support provided by the Jewish Community Youth Foundation of Princeton, NJ.



Welcoming Remarks, Jonathan Brent, YIVO Executive Director

Lecture, Professor James Loeffler

Trio for piano, violin and cello, op. 63
(Dedicated to the memory of our lost children)
Mikhail Gnessin (1947)
—Eric Clark, piano
—Artur Kaganovskiy, violin
—Jennie Brent, cello

Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes for violin and piano, op. 47/3
Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1949-1952)
—Artur Kaganovskiy, violin
—Eric Clark, piano


String quartet No. 8, op. 110
(In Memory of the Victims of Fascism and War)
Dmitriy Shostakovich (1960)
—Yuval Waldman, violin 1
—Artur Kaganovskiy, violin 2
—Eszter Szilveszter, viola
—Valeriya Sholokhova, cello


James Loeffler is an Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia. He also serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the Pro Musica Hebraica Foundation and Academic Vice Co-Chair of the Jewish Music Forum of the American Society for Jewish Music. His first book, The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire was published by Yale University Press in 2010. It received awards from the Association for Jewish Studies, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP). In 2013-2014 he is Dean's Visiting Scholar on the Andrew Mellon Foundation New Foundations Fellowship at the Georgetown University Law Center. There he is working on a book about Jews, Israel, and international human rights.

Born in Russia and educated in Israel, the United States and Europe, Yuval Waldman has enjoyed great success as a violinist, conductor, and educator. Waldman has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel and given recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall in London, and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 2005 Maestro Waldman founded Music Bridges International, to foster cross-cultural music exchange programs that feature the music of different countries. Under the Music Bridges banner, he organized the successful Young Artsist Strings Competition at the “Tchaikovsky’s Homeland” Center in Izhevsk/Votkinsk, Russia.