Music

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Mariana Kroutoiarskaia

As a composer, music producer and supervisor, Mariana Kroutoiarskaia dedicated her entire life to music, film and television. Perhaps because she usually worked behind the scenes and was of small, delicate stature, she appears initially not to have been acknowledged by many people. But whoever came to know her better was usually overwhelmed by her energy, her love of life and her creative capacity.

Isa Kremer

Diva, folksinger, and citizen of the world, Isa Kremer was born in Belz, Bessarabia, on October 21, 1887, to Jacob and Anna (Rosenbluth) Kremer.

Miriam Kressyn

Miriam Kressyn—of the Yiddish theater and film, songwriter, translator, recording star, radio announcer, historian of the Yiddish theater, news analyst, and teacher—left an indelible mark on Yiddish culture of the twentieth century.

Ruth Kisch-Arendt

Ruth Kisch-Arendt, an Orthodox Jew who celebrated the musical and cultural traditions of German lieder, performed the songs of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Wagner before small-town German Jewish audiences during some of the most violent outbreaks of antisemitism in the 1930s. These performances stand as a poignant and ironic reminder of the inhumanity of the Holocaust.

Carole King

Carole King, a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn, gave Aretha Franklin reason to croon “A Natural Woman,” inspired Little Eva to tell a generation about the latest dance craze in “The Loco-Motion,” and let James Taylor warm our hearts with “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Esther Rachel Kaminska

In the first pages of her autobiography My Life, My Theater Ida Kaminska writes of her mother Esther Rachel, termed “the Jewish Eleonora Duse,” that she was educated by three forces: “the poverty she saw with her clever eyes, the suffering with which her great heart empathised, the injustice against which she was able to rebel. All became components of Esther Rachel Kaminska.”

Regina Kaplan

“Woman of valor” and “a tiny dynamo”—these phrases describe Regina Kaplan (nicknamed Kappy), nurse, teacher, hospital administrator, and health care innovator.

Miriam Kainy

“Men have been running this world for thousands of years. Obviously in a lousy fashion. Now it’s our turn.” These words are typical of Miriam Kainy, winner of the Israel Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 1997, who regards herself as the “big mamma” of Israeli women playwrights—a claim which is difficult to contest.

Hagar Kadima

Until the year 2000, when Hagar Kadima founded the Israel Women Composers’ Forum, which she chaired until 2005, not even connoisseurs could have named more than a handful of significant Israeli women composers. The Forum is especially significant when one considers that as of the early 1990s, out of approximately two hundred Israeli works performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (founded in 1936), only a handful were written by women composers.

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

American Jewish music has expanded vastly in variety, range, and quality of activities. Jews brought to America their secular-folk and sacred-liturgical musical heritage. There has been a renascence of age-old traditions that have become means of self-expression for Jewish women.

Tziporah H. Jochsberger

In March 1939, Tziporah Jochsberger’s musical talents won her acceptance to the Palestine Academy of Music in Jerusalem, good fortune that ultimately saved her life. Since then, Jochsberger has used her music to stir the Jewish soul.

Israeli Folk Dance Pioneers in North America

An intense desire to share the joy of dance coupled with a strong identification with both Israel and their Jewish roots profoundly affected a diverse group of North American Jewish women. Each added a dimension to the flourishing of Israeli dance activities in communities, including regional festivals, workshops, performing groups and weekly folk dance sessions. All were also involved in enriching Jewish education by training teachers and developing dance resources or programs.

Libby Holman

“I always have to break a song over my back. … I just can’t sing a song; it has to be part of my marrow and bones and everything,” Libby Holman explained in a 1966 interview. Daring, dark, and impetuous, Holman led a rich public life that touched a dizzying array of people, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Montgomery Clift, from Alice B. Toklas to Jane Bowles. A musical and sexual revolutionary from the 1920s to the 1960s, Holman succeeded at two different musical careers. Known as the “Statue of Libby,” she carried one of the smokiest torches of American music hall society in the 1920s and 1930s, and was the inventor of the strapless evening dress. From a deep sense of personal commitment, she later made significant contributions to the civil rights movement as both an artist and a wealthy benefactor. However, murder, millionaires, death, and suicide were morbid recurring themes in Libby Holman’s life, reaching tabloid proportions.

Nurit Hirsch

Nurit Hirsch (Rosenfeld) is one of the most prolific and varied songwriters of contemporary Israeli song. Born in Tel Aviv in 1942 to Hillel and Leah Hirsch, she graduated from the Rubin Academy of Music, where she studied piano with Alexander Buch, composition with Mordechai Seter and Yeheskiel Braun (both Israel Prize laureates) and jazz with Professor Zvi Keren. She also studied orchestration with Noam Sharif and conducting with Laslo Roth. She continued her studies at UCLA, where she took courses in music for films, contemporary music and electronic music. In New York she studied composition with Norman Dello Joio.

Nechama Hendel

Nechama Hendel was born on August 22, 1936 in Jerusalem, where her family lived in the upper-middle-class district of Rehavia. Both parents immigrated to Palestine from Poland. Her father, Michael Hendel (1899–1965), was born in Bolochow (Bolokhuv) and her mother, Chana Foyerstein (1900–1986), was born in Warsaw. Her father served for many years as chief inspector of history at the Israel Ministry of Education. Her older sister, Tamar Gadot, was born in 1934.

Hebrew Song, 1880-2000

“Hebrew song” is a general term for the field of music that combines Hebrew text with music; in other words, a lyric that is sung in the Hebrew language. (This classification does not include liturgical and paraliturgical song, although the latter is also sung in Hebrew.) The term “Hebrew song” generally encompasses both shirei The Land of IsraelErez Israel (songs of the Land of Israel) and “Israeli song,” both of which consist of Hebrew lyrics that are sung; however, the melodies in this case were composed in pre-State Palestine or, after 1948/9, in Israel.

Ofra Haza

Ofra Haza was born on November 19, 1957 in the Hatikvah quarter of Tel Aviv to parents who had immigrated from Yemen with their eight sons and daughters. Her mother, already a singer in Yemen, would often perform at family celebrations. Haza herself sang from an early age and was a soloist in her local school choir.

Clara Haskil

Among the most prestigious piano competitions of the twentieth century is that dedicated to Clara Haskil, one of the great performers of her time. The competition was established in 1965, five years after Haskil’s death, when first prize was awarded to the then young Christoph Eschenbach, setting a standard of excellence that continues into the twenty-first century. As part of the biennial Montreux music festival, the competition takes place in Vevey, the Swiss town in which Haskil settled towards the end of her life and which boasts Clara Haskil Street, named in her honor in 1962.

Ida Haendel

Born in Chelm, Poland, on December 15, 1928, Ida Haendel was the younger of two daughters born to Nathan and Fela Hendel [sic]. Several sources state the year of her birth as 1923 or 1924. The confusion, Haendel claims, is the result of a performance she gave in London in 1937 when she was nine years old; just before she was to appear, her manager was informed that no performer was allowed to appear under the age of fourteen, and so he claimed that was indeed her age.

Dorothy Lerner Gordon

Dorothy Lerner Gordon—musician, broadcaster, author—dedicated her talents to the entertainment and education of children and young people.

Eydie Gorme

One of the great stylists of the American popular song, Eydie Gorme has had a loyal following from the 1950s to the present.

Alma Gluck

Alma Gluck, the soprano whose recording of “Carry Me Back to Ol’ Virginny” sold almost two million copies, was born Reba Fiersohn on May 11, 1884, in Romania (variously reported as either Iasi or Bucharest). From an impoverished childhood, she rose to become not only one of the finest concert artists of the twentieth century but also one of the most popular.

Miriam Gideon

Miriam Gideon had a notable career as a musical educator and as a prolific composer whose works have been widely performed and published.

Edith Gerson-Kiwi

World-renowned musicologist, a pioneer in the research of the music of the Jewish communities in Israel, Edith Kiwi was born in Berlin on May 13, 1908.

Lillian Fuchs

Lillian Fuchs is a legend among musicians and chamber music lovers throughout the world. She was a violist, teacher, and composer. Her musicianship and her concept of the viola’s glorious, dark, rich, human sonority continue to enhance and inspire the lives of musicians who studied with her, played her compositions, or had the privilege of hearing her wondrous, soulful playing.

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