ADOLPHE: Ladino Songs of Love and Suffering / Mikhoels the Wise
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A MESSAGE FROM THE MILKEN ARCHIVE FOUNDER
Dispersed over the centuries to all corners of the earth, the Jewish people absorbed elements of its host cultures while, miraculously, maintaining its own. As many Jews reconnected in America, escaping persecution and seeking to take part in a visionary democratic society, their experiences found voice in their music. The sacred and secular body of work that has developed over the three centuries since Jews first arrived on these shores provides a powerful means of expressing the multilayered saga of American Jewry.
My personal interest in music and deep abiding commitment to synagogue life and the Jewish people united as I developed an increasing appreciation for the quality and tremendous diversity of music written for or inspired by the American Jewish experience. Through discussions with contemporary Jewish composers and performers during the 1980s, I realized that while much of this music had become a vital force in American and world culture, even more music of specifically Jewish content had been created, perhaps performed, and then lost to current and future generations. Believing that there was a unique opportunity to rediscover, preserve, and transmit the collective memory contained within this music, the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music was founded in 1990. This project would unite the Jewish people's eternal love of music with their commitment to education, a commitment shared by the Milken Family Foundation since our founding in 1982.
The passionate collaboration of many distinguished artists, ensembles, and recording producers has created a vast repository of musical resources to educate, entertain, and inspire people of all faiths and cultures. The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music is a living project, one that we hope will cultivate and nourish musicians and enthusiasts of this richly varied musical genre.
The Milken Family Foundation was established by brothers Lowell and Michael Milken in 1982 with the mission to discover and advance inventive, effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research. For more information, visit www.milkenarchive.org.
A MESSAGE FROM THE MILKEN ARCHIVE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
The quality, quantity, and amazing diversity of sacred as well as secular music written for or inspired by Jewish life in America is one of the least acknowledged achievements of modern Western culture. The time is ripe for a wider awareness and appreciation of these various repertoires--which may be designated appropriately as an aggregate \American Jewish music." The Milken Archive is a musical voyage of discovery encompassing hundreds of original pieces--symphonies, operas, concertos, cantorial masterpieces, complete synagogue services, and folk, popular, and Yiddish theater music. The music in the Archive--all born of the American Jewish experience or fashioned for uniquely American institutions--has been created by native American or immigrant composers. The repertoire is chosen by a panel of leading musicians, musicologists, cantors, and Judaic scholars who have selected works based on or inspired by traditional Jewish melodies or modes, synagogue or other liturgical functions, language, Jewish historical subject matter, role in Jewish celebrations or commemorations, and content of texts (biblical, literary, etc.), as well as their intrinsic musical integrity.
The initial dissemination to the public of the Archive will consist of fifty CDs devoted to particular composers and musical genres. In this first phase of the project, more than 200 composers in recordings of more than 600 works are represented. Additional components of the Archive, planned for release at a future date, include rare historical reference recordings, expanded analytical background information, contextual essays, and a special collectors edition--according to historical, religious, and sociological themes.
The Milken Archive is music of AMERICA--a part of American culture in all its diversity; it is JEWISH, as an expression of Jewish tradition and culture enhanced and enriched by the American environment; and perhaps above all, it is MUSIC--music that transcends its boundaries of origin and invites sharing, music that has the power to speak to all of us.
Neil W. Levin
Neil W. Levin is an internationally recognized scholar and authority on Jewish music history, a professor of Jewish music at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, director of the International Centre and Archives for Jewish Music in New York, music director of Schola Hebraeica, and author of various articles, books, and monographs on Jewish music.
Composer, author, educator, and performer BRUCE ADOLPHE was born in New York in 1955. A graduate of The Juilliard School (1976), where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, he also studied privately with Milton Babbitt, Vincent Persichetti, and Lawrence Widdoes. Adolphe has composed works for such renowned artists and organizations as Itzhak Perlman, Sylvia McNair, David Shifrin, David Finckel, Wu Han, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Dorian Wind Quintet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the National Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and the Caramoor Festival. He has been composer-in-residence of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the 92nd Street Y School Concert Series, as well as at festivals around the United States, including SummerFest La Jolla in California, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Perlman Music Program, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Chamber Music Northwest in Oregon, Music from Angel Fire in New Mexico, Bravo! Colorado, and the Appalachian Festival in North Carolina. Adolphe's music is also frequently performed abroad--in Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Among his large-scale compositions are several stage works, including four operas--the first of which, The Tell-Tale Heart (1978), is based on the well-known story by Poe. His film scores include an overview documentary on the history of anti-Semitism, which introduces the permanent exhibition at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. In addition to the works presented here, his other Judaically related pieces include Rikudim (Dances), which won the Presser Foundation Publishing Award; Troika, based on klezmer clarinet idioms and inflections; and the opera The False Messiah, which is based on the 17th-century incident surrounding Shabtai Zvi, the most famous of the self-proclaimed messiahs of that era. Among Adolphe's numerous general works are his comic opera, The Amazing Adventures of Alvin Allegretto, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Guild; Whispers of Mortality, for string quartet; Triskelion, for brass quintet; Body Loops, for piano and orchestra; and many others.
Adolphe is also well known as a teacher and lecturer, and he has served as music and education adviser for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is especially dedicated to children's music education, and is the cofounder of a firm devoted to devising educational repertoire and materials in a wide range of media for young people. His many compositions for children include Marite and Her Hearts Desire of the Purple Palace; and Tyrannosaurus Sue: A Cretaceous Concert, written for the unveiling of the dinosaur at Chicago's Field Museum--among many other such pieces. He has taught at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (1983-93), Yale University (1984-85), and The Juilliard School (1974-93). Adolphe is the author of several books including What to Listen for in the World, and The Mind's Ear: Exercises for