Biographies of Conference Speakers





   Michael Alpert

Michael Alpert is a pioneering figure of the Klezmer Revival and is internationally known for his performances and recordings of klezmer music with BRAVE OLD WORLD, Kapelye, and other groups. Raised in a Yiddish-speaking family, he is considered one of the finest traditional Yiddish singers today, and is recognized for his original Yiddish songs. A research associate at New York's YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Mr. Alpert has conducted extensive research of traditional Jewish music and dance throughout the U.S. and Eastern Europe. He was musical director of the PBS Great Performances special "Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler's House," executive producer of the Angel/EMI CD of the same title, and appeared with Mr. Perlman on CBS' The Late Show with David Letterman. Program director of New York's 1982 Festival of Soviet Jewish Traditions, he produced the musical portion of the exhibition "A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union" at New York's Jewish Museum. Alpert was the music director for the play The People vs. The God of Vengeance, adapted and directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman (Drama '00), which was performed at Yale's conference "Sholem Asch Reconsidered" in 2000.


  Rachel Bergman

Rachel Bergman earned her PhD in music theory from Yale University (2001) and completed her undergraduate degree in Music and Mathematics at Skidmore College (1992). Her dissertation focuses on the works of Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), a Jewish, Austro-Hungarian composer who was killed in the Holocaust. Rachel has taught both flute and music theory at Skidmore College, and currently teaches a variety of music courses at Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, and the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.


  Margot Fassler

Margot Fassler, Director of the Institute of Sacred Music, got her Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Cornell University. She now teaches the history of liturgy in the Latin Middle Ages, music history, a course on liturgical drama, and on the Virgin Mary in the liturgy and arts of the Middle Ages. Her book Gothic Song: Victorine Sequences and Augustinian Reform in 12th Century Paris (Cambridge, 1993) received the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society. She is now editing a volume of essays on the Divine Office and finishing a book on the Cult of the Virgin at Chartres.


  Judit Frigyesi

Judit Frigyesi studied musicology and ethnomusicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest), at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne, Paris), and at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) where she received her doctorate. After having taught at Brown and Princeton Universities, she moved to Israel and presently she is an associate professor at Bar Ilan University. She received several research grants and published articles in leading scholarly journals on topics dealing with the music of Béla Bartók, cultural studies of twentieth-century Europe, contemporary composers, theory of rhythm, Hungarian folk music, and Jewish liturgical music. Her book"Béla Bartók and turn-of-the-century Budapest" was published by University of California Press (1998, second edition 2000). For the past twenty years she has been collecting and researching the ritual music of the Jews of Eastern Europe. She is presently working on the book "The Music of the East-Ashkenazi Jewish Service."

Mark Kligman

Mark Kligman, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Jewish Musicology at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York where he teaches in the School of Sacred Music. He was educated at the University of Michigan and New York University; he earned his doctorate at NYU in 1997. He specializes in the liturgical traditions of Middle Eastern Jewish communities. Dr. Kligman has published several articles on the liturgy of Syrian Jews. His work also extends to historical trends in the liturgical music of Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions; his entry "Music in Judaism" was recently published in The Encyclopedia of Judaism (2000). He was the editor of the book "Jewish terms in Worship Music: a Concise Dictionary" (2000), a dictionary covering liturgical music. In the Spring of 2001 he was a Research Fellow & Visiting Professor at the Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, where he pursued research on contemporary trends in Jewish music. An article on this topic appears in the American Jewish Yearbook 2001. He lives with is wife and daughter in Highland Park, NJ.

   Craig Harwood

Craig Harwood received his Ph.D. in Music Theory from Yale University and his B.A. from the City University of New York at Queens. He recently completed his dissertation, "Subversive Strategies: Conventions and Manipulation of Gesture and Syntax in Mozart." Besides teaching courses in music theory, he lead the seminar "Klezmer Music: History, Culture and Methodology" at Yale University.

   Hankus Netsky

Hankus Netsky is the founder of the seminal Klezmer Conservatory Band and has been on the faculty of New England Conservatory for twenty-five years. He collaborated with Itzhak Perlman's klezmer project and is currently completing a doctoral dissertation at Wesleyan University on the history of klezmer in Philadelphia, part of his family heritage as well.

   Ellen Rosand

Ellen Rosand, professor of the history of music and chair of the Yale College department of music, joined the Yale faculty in 1992. A member of the editorial boards of numerous music-oriented publications, Professor Rosand was editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society. She edited the Grove Dictionary of Opera's section on Seventeenth Century Italian Opera, and has written two books on the history of Italian opera and approximately three dozen scholarly articles.

   Edwin Seroussi

Edwin Seroussi, Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology and Director of the Jewish Music Research Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2000, was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and immigrated to Israel in 1971. Held lectureships at the Department of Musicology of Tel-Aviv University and at Levinsky Teachers' College in Tel-Aviv, before his full time appointment at Bar-Ilan University in 1990, where he was head of the Department of Music from 1994 to 1998. Was visiting professor at Binghamton University (New York, 1992/3) and the University of California, Los Angeles (1998/9). His works include: "Schir Hakawod and the Liturgical Music Reforms in the Sephardi Community in Vienna, ca. 1881-1925", Ph.D. diss. University of California, Los Angeles (1988); Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue Music in Nineteenth-century Reform Sources from Hamburg: Ancient Tradition in the Dawn of Modernity (Jerusalem 1996); Cancionero sefardí by Alberto Hemsi (Jerusalem 1995); Mizimrat Qedem: The Life and Music of R. Isaac Algazi from Turkey (Jerusalem 1989) and more than forty articles on diverse aspects of Sephardi music traditions. In the past years he has also researched the popular music of Israel. His book (co-written with Motti Regev) Popular Music and National Culture in Israel will be published by the University of California Press. He recently contributed articles on Jewish and Israeli music for major music encyclopedias such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Revised Edition and the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. He founded and edits Yuval: Music Series of the Jewish Music Research Center. Edited several CDs of Jewish music, e.g. Titgadal ve-titkadash betokh Yerushalayim - Jerusalem in Hebrew Prayers and Songs (Wergo, Berlin 1996) and Chants judéo-espagnols de la Mediterraneé orientale (Inedit, Paris 1994).

 Kay Kaufman Shelemay
Kay Kaufman Shelemay is the G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music at Harvard University and a former Chair of the Department of Music. An ethnomusicologist with specializations in musics of Africa, the Middle East, and urban United States, she received her Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Michigan. The author of numerous articles and reviews, Shelemay's book "Music, Ritual, and Falasha History" (1986), won both the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1987 and the Prize of the International Musicological Society in 1988. Other major publications include "A Song of Longing. An Ethiopian Journey" (1991); "Ethiopian Christian Chant. An Anthology" (3 vols., 1993-97), co-authored with Peter Jeffery; and "Let Jasmine Rain Down. Song and Remembrance Among Syrian Jews," University of Chicago Press, 1998 (finalist for the National Jewish Book Award). She has edited the seven-volume "Garland Library of Readings in Ethnomusicology," issued by Garland Publishing (1990). She edited "Studies in Jewish Musical Traditions" in 2001 and is currently co-editing "Pain and its Transformations: The Interface of Biology and Culture," forthcoming from Harvard University Press. Her textbook, "Soundscapes. Exploring Music in a Changing World," was published by W.W. Norton in 2001. Shelemay was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has been awarded a number of major postdoctoral fellowships, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is Past-President of the Society for Ethnomusicology and is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Shelemay was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and was named a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at Harvard for 2001-2002. Before joining the Harvard faculty in 1992, Shelemay taught at Columbia University, where she received an award for distinguished teaching, at New York University, and at Wesleyan University.

 Mark Slobin

Mark Slobin is Professor of Music and American Studies at Wesleyan University. He has been the president of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Society for Asian Music. Among his many books, two on Jewish music themes have won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award: "Tenement Songs: the Popular Music of the Jewish Immigrants" (1982) and "Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World" (2001)

  Jeffrey A. Summit
Jeffrey Summit is the Executive Director of the Hillel Foundation at Tufts University, where he also serves as Associate Chaplain and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Music. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University, an M.A.H.L. and Rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Summit also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Tufts University where he studied ethnomusicology in Tufts interdisciplinary doctoral program. His Rabbinic thesis focused on the traditions of Biblical cantillation of the Yemenite community in Israel, where he spent a year doing field work studying with Yemenite teachers and recording their musical/liturgical traditions. His Master's thesis, The Role and Function of the Part-Time Cantor, contributed research to the first major study of the American Cantorate, conducted under the direction of Professor Mark Slobin of Wesleyan University. Rabbi Summit's Ph.D. dissertation examined issues of identity and melody choice in Jewish liturgical music and was published by Oxford University Press under the title "The Lord's Song in a Strange Land: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship." He is presently conducting research on the music and liturgy of the Abayudaya (Jewish people) of Uganda and together with photojournalist Richard Sobol is the author of "Abayudaya: The Jews of Uganda" (Abbeville Press). Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is also issuing an annotated compact disk of his field recordings of the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda. His book on Jewish music and identity was awarded the Musher Publication Prize by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Rabbi Summit is past-president of the National Hillel Professional Association. He has forthcoming articles on "Nusah and Identity" in a volume examining religion and music in America edited by Philip Bohlman (Oxford University Press) and an article entitled "The Meaning of Our Melodies: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship" in Perspectives in Jewish Learning, Volume VIII (The Spertus College of Judaica Press).

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Updated: February 10, 2003