Performing Arts: Music
The talented singer Lina Abarbanell had a gift for lighter musicals and operettas with complicated, Viennese flourishes, and several composers wrote parts specifically for her distinct soprano. Following her successful international performance career, Abarbanell became a well-known casting director, Broadway producer, and occasional director.
Chava Alberstein is a singer-songwriter who by the end of 2020 had recorded over 60 albums (including eight albums in Yiddish but not including singles and song collections), more than any other Israeli singer. Alberstein has toured globally and is considered one of the most important female performers of Hebrew music, Yiddish folk songs, and children’s songs.
A woman and a kibbutznik, Chaya Arbel embodied two under-represented sectors on the Israeli musical composition scene.
Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.
Belle Baker has been described as a famed torch singer and vaudeville star, as well as a Yiddish, Broadway, and motion picture actor.
In Hungary, Zsófia Balla is considered one of the greatest women poets. Her lyricism is mixed with grotesque playfulness along with fragmented, ironic, prose-like sequences. Due to her outspoken and down-to-earth character, she plays a large role in shaping contemporary Hungarian literature.
“Astrith Baltsan is an incomparable phenomenon on the musical scene in Israel,” wrote the judges who awarded her the Tel Aviv Municipality 2001 Rosenblum Prize for the Stage Arts. Her original lecture-concert series—multimedia events—became the largest classical chamber music series in Israel, attracting thousands of individuals to attend their first non-symphonic concerts.
Barbara (Monique Andrée Serf) was a French singer and composer whose melancholy style rose to national significance. Born in Paris in 1930, after World War II Barbara studied music, rising to fame in the 1960s. Her Jewish identity and wartime experience as a child influenced her non-conformist persona as an artist, and through her song lyrics, she advocated for Franco-German reconciliation.
Singing her way through popular standards and performing imitations of Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Harry Richman, and Gypsy Rose Lee kept Barth employed on the vaudeville circuit through the 1930s and 1940s. The character of her act changed in the 1950s, when she began to mix her two talents—music and comedy—and added a splash of “red hot mama” for good measure.
Winner of several Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress awards from the Israel Institute of Cinema, the multi-talented Michal Bat Adam was the first Israeli woman to direct a feature film.
Ora Bat Chaim is a poet, painter, and concert manager who in her late 50s began a prolific music composition career. Bat Chaim was the manager of the Zavit Theater and composed over 400 pieces for musicians, plays, and movie soundtracks. Her music can be described as a reflection of Jewish mysticism, yoga, and universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Marion Eugenie Bauer was a modernist and experimental composer whose musical scholarship advocated for women’s voices to be heard and revived interest in female composers. As a teacher, writer, and composer, she was actively involved in many music and composition organizations, frequently as the only woman in a leadership position.
Nora Bayes was a star in vaudeville and musical comedy in the early twentieth century. Known for her lush singing voice and hilarious acting, Bayes was a part of the Ziegfeld Follies, the Keith vaudeville circuit, and had her own one-woman show. Bayes had many arguments with male producers, theater administrators, and businessmen, as she often questioned the traditional role of women and asserted her independence.
Jeanne Behrend was a renowned pianist, music educator, and composer who was dedicated to creating music and popularizing North and South American music. Behrend won Columbia University’s Joseph Bearns Prize in 1936; debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1937, performing one of her own compositions; and founded the Philadelphia Festival of Western Hemisphere Music in 1959.
Berthe Bénichou-Aboulker was the first woman writer to have her work published in her country of birth, Algeria, whose generous land and mixed population she praised in Pays de flamme (Land of Flame).
In addition to being a concert pianist in demand throughout the world, Yara Bernette was also a teacher.
Blanche Bloch was a pioneer on behalf of women in music. Her efforts date back to the early 1930s when she was a founding member of the New York Women’s Orchestra.
In her short life, Sophie Braslau was an extraordinary contralto and international opera sensation. After making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York at age eleven, she toured the United States, Europe, and Canada and recorded many albums. She also sang at fundraisers such as the Omaha Hebrew Club campaign to raise money for Jewish war sufferers.
Brazil is home to the second largest Jewish community in South America. Jewish women played important roles in the absorption of Jewish immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, and also made important contributions to Brazilian intellectual and artistic life.
Claire Brook is a writer, editor, and composer whose career is most distinguished by her work in publishing.
Over the years, she became a journalist of international renown, writing for several leading newspapers in Italy and elsewhere, including Ma’ariv, Espresso, The Jewish Chronicle, The Religious News Service, Voce Repubblicana and others. Over the years, she became increasingly involved in Italian political and intellectual life, especially among the country’s Jews.
Though debate continues regarding the female cantorial profession, women’s voices increasingly come forth from pulpits in America, leading congregations in all the year-round calendar and life-cycle observances of the Jewish faith.
Beginning with On the Town (1944) and continuing with The Will Rogers Follies (1991), Betty Comden’s long career as librettist and lyricist for Broadway and Hollywood has included many classics of American musical comedy. With her partner Adolph Green, Comden has written lyrics and/or librettos for such hits of stage and screen as The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Wonderful Town (1953), The Band Wagon (1953), Peter Pan (1953), Bells Are Ringing (1956), the film version of Auntie Mame (1958), Say Darling (1958), Applause (1970), and On the Twentieth Century (1978).
Shoshana Damari was born in 1923 in the city of Dhamar, Yemen. With the outbreak of anti-Jewish persecution in Yemen in 1924, the family set out on foot for the Land of Israel. Reaching the port of Aden, they continued by ship to Palestine and settled in Rishon le-Zion, where Damari’s father found work as a teacher at a local Lit. "study of Torah," but also the name for organizations that established religious schools, and later the specific school systems themselves, including the network of afternoon Hebrew schools in early 20th c. U.S.talmud Torah.