Enrico Fink is a musician, scholar, and author. He has dedicated much of his work to Jewish Italian musical traditions, studying the music for the liturgies of different communities throughout the Italian Jewish world, exploring and comparing cantillations, modes, special melodies, the usage of piyut. As a performer, has devoted himself to new interpretations of the Jewish cultural tradition, finding a path between “radical” and traditional, which uses both music and musical theater as means of expression. In the past 25 years he has toured extensively native Italy, Europe, North and South America, in theatres as well as in schools and universities, synagogues and Jewish centres, as musician, as lecturer, as guest cantor, bringing to audiences worldwide his vast repertoire of Italian Jewish synagogue song, as well as his own renditions, arrangements and compositions. He has taught “History of Jewish Music” in the Corso di Laurea in Jewish Studies, hosted by the Collegio Rabbinico Italiano, and at the “Shemà school of Jewish culture” in Florence. He teaches regularly at the Florence Bet Midrash, has taught various courses in different aspects of Jewish music in many music schools throughout Italy, and has been an invited speaker in various universities in Europe and overseas.
Piergabriele Mancuso received his doctoral degree in Jewish Studies from University College London, 2009. He also studied in Oxford (Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies) as a doctoral student fellow (2004) and at the Warburg Institute, London (Sophie Fellowship Programme, 2006). He taught at Boston University Abroad Programs (Padua) and was visiting lecturer at University of Kentucy (College of Fine Arts), Lexington, “Cà Foscari” University, Venice (Department of Oriental Languages), at Università dell’Insubria in Como, and University of Padua. In 2001 he graduated in music (viola) and since 1997 he has been an active member of Laboratorio Novamusica, a contemporary music ensemble based in Venice. His research interests include Jewish music in early modern Italy and Jewish ethnomusicology, medieval Italian Jewry, Venetian history and history of the Jews of Venice. He is member of several academic associations (AJS, EAJS, AISG, RSA, Viola d’Amore Society, etc…) and serves as a board member of the Centro Veneziano di Studi Ebraici Internazionali (Venice Center for International Jewish Studies), Venice. In June 2013 he was appointed director of the Eugene Grant Research Program on Jewish History and Culture in Early Modern Europe at the Medici Archive Project, Florence. In 2017 he launched the Ghetto Mapping Project, a major research program aiming to reconstruct, on the basis of archival documents, the architectural, demographic and nonetheless artistic-cultural features (including music) of the ghetto of Florence (1570-1888). He recently published a book on the music traditions of the Jews of Venice, Musiche della tradizione ebraica a Venezia – Le registrazioni di Leo Levi (1954-1959), Squilibri Editore, Rome, June 2018.
Diana Matut is a lecturer in Jewish and Yiddish Studies at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg and a musician (http://www.simkhat-hanefesh.com/).
She published the two-volume edition of and commentary on a Western Yiddish manuscript of songs and Purim plays from the Bodleian Library Oxford, compiled around 1600 based on her PhD work. She researches late medieval and early modern Yiddish song cultures and is currently preparing an edition of all known early modern Yiddish wedding songs. As a 2019-20 Polonsky Fellow, she will continue her research focussing on songs of lamentation.
From 2017-18, Diana Matut was the Joseph Kremen Memorial Fellow for East European Jewish Arts, Music and Theatre at YIVO (New York). There, she had the opportunity to work with the documents of interwar composer Henech Kon and in August 2019 was (together with Joshua Horowitz) the artistic director of the world-premiere of his Bas-Sheve – the only surviving Yiddish pre-war opera from Europe.
Alexandre Cerveux recently completed his PhD in musicology at Sorbonne University, on the subject of music in medieval Jewish education. He currently holds a postdoctoral position in Jewish studies at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. His research focuses on the subject of music in medieval Jewish thought, and on the relationship between linguistic and music theories. Alexandre also is a singer. He graduated from the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, and he regularly performs with Renaissance and baroque ensembles in France and abroad. During his stay at Oxford, he will study the Jewish conceptions in speculative music at the turn of the 16th century.
David Conway originally graduated in Economics and Natural Sciences at King’s College Cambridge. He later studied with Prof. John Klier at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London, where he is now an Honorary Research Associate. He obtained his PhD in 2008 for his thesis on Jewish entry to the music professions in the 18th and 19th centuries, later published by Cambridge University Press (Jewry in Music, 2012). Other publications include chapters in The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Music (CUP, 2015), Judaism in Opera (Conbrio, 2017) and The Oxford Companion to Faust in Music (OUP, 2019), as well as articles in journals in the UK and Slovakia. He has been at various times (and sometimes simultaneously) a stockbroker, a local politician, a manufacturer, and (for twenty-five years) a development aid consultant in the former Soviet Union. He is presently chair of the opera company HGO. His particular interests are in the social, political and economic histories of music.
Suzanne Wijsman is a cellist and Associate Professor in the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Western Australia in Perth. She received her BMus and BA (Hons, Religion) from Oberlin College (USA) and an MA (Near Eastern Studies) from the University of Michigan. The recipient of a Fulbright scholarship for study in the UK, she subsequently received MMus and DMA degrees from the Eastman School of Music (USA). She has performed, recorded and taught as a professional musician in Australia, the USA, Europe and Asia. For the past two decades, she has engaged in multi-disciplinary research on musical iconography in medieval and early modern Jewish sources. She was a Visiting Scholar at OCHJS in 2009 to undertake study of the Oppenheimer Siddur (Bodleian MS Opp. 776), a richly illuminated prayer book made for personal use by a fifteenth-century scribe, resulting in her contribution to the Bodleian Library’s exhibition and book, Crossing Borders: Hebrew manuscripts as a meeting place of cultures (2009). Recent publications explore the meaning of the Oppenheimer Siddur’s pervasive musical iconography in a chapter in the award-winning book, Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music and Sound(Brepols, 2015),as well as technical aspects of its artwork production using advanced imaging science that have confirmed the user-producer scribe as artist in Heritage Science (2018). Her research has widened to encompass images of music and music-making in medieval Jewish manuscripts more generally, as well as those appearing in early printed books. Suzanne’s current project involves extending her existing database of musical iconography in Jewish manuscript and print sources and exploring the convergence of Jewish visual and musical cultures from the late medieval to the early modern eras, in order to investigate how images of music-making serve as symbols of Jewish identity.
Yael Sela (DPhil 2010, Oxford University) is Lecturer and Head of the Program in Music at the Department of Literature and Arts, The Open University of Israel. Following the completion of her dissertation, she held postdoctoral research fellowships at Humboldt University, Berlin, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, and the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Her fields of interest are the cultural history of music in early modern England and Germany; German Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), especially Moses Mendelssohn; the aesthetics of biblical poetry in German Jewish thought, exegesis and translation; Christian-Jewish relations, particularly in German Bible exegesis and aesthetics; and the Book of Psalms in Jewish thought and musical culture. Her publications include book chapters as well as articles in such journals as Renaissance Studies (2012), The Jewish Quarterly Review (2013) and The Musical Quarterly (2018). She is currently completing two book projects on the aesthetics of biblical poetry in German Jewish Enlightenment and the role of Moses Mendelssohn’s translation of Psalms in the inception of Jewish national musical consciousness around 1800.
Judit Frigyesi Niran is a teacher, writer, poet, musicologist and ethnomusicologist. She researched numerous composers and wrote about the meaning and context of musics from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. She is a leading scholar of Béla Bartók (Béla Bartók and turn-of-the-century Budapest, California University). She has been documenting the prayer chant of East-European Jews since the late 1970s; she was the only scholar to research this secretly practiced tradition in post-WWII Communist countries. Apart from numerous scholarly publications, she completed a documentary novel on the topic (Writing on Water –The Sounds of Jewish Prayer, CEU Press). She published short stories and poems, created photo exhibitions, installations and multimedia projects. Her theatrical montage “Fleeting Resonances”, combining poetry, film, audio, field recordings and live performance, has been staged in Germany, Hungary, and Israel.
Walter Zev Feldman is a leading researcher in both Ottoman Turkish and Jewish music. During the 1970s he spearheaded the revival of klezmer music. Today he is a performer on the klezmer dulcimer, the cimbal, and on the Ottoman lute, the tanbur. His book, Music of the Ottoman Court: Makam, Composition, and the Early Ottoman Instrumental Repertoire (Berlin, 1996) is taught as a basic text worldwide. His new book Klezmer: Music, History and Memory,was published by Oxford University Press (2016). Between 2011 and 2015 he researched the Jewish, Gypsy and Greek musical traditions of Moldova/Bessarabia, sponsored by NYU Abu Dhabi. Feldman is also an authority on Ashkenazic dance, forming part of his current research on the role of gesture in the performing arts, which he taught in the NYU Abu Dhabi core course “Gesture” (2013-15) and in NYU on the Square (2018). In 2017 he gave a series of workshops on this topic in Tokyo and in Moscow. In 2004 he co-directed the successful application of the Mevlevi Dervishes of Turkey as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity for UNESCO. He is currently writing From Rumi to the Whirling Dervishes: Music, Poetry and Mysticism in the Ottoman Empire for the Agha Khan University. Feldman is currently a Senior Research Fellow affiliated with New York University, Abu Dhabi.
Edwin Seroussi is the Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre since 2000 as well as Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College. He has previously taught at the Department of Music of Bar Ilan University and has been a visiting professor at several major institutions in Europe, North and Latin America.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Prof. Seroussi immigrated to Israel in 1971 where he studied at the Department of Musicology at the undergraduate and graduate levels continuing into his doctoral studies at the University of California Los Angeles (1981-1987). As a faculty member of the Department of Musicology at The Hebrew University, he teaches ethnomusicology, world music, theory and methodology in the study of oral traditions and popular music. His research focuses on the musical cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, interactions between Jewish and Islamic cultures and popular music in Israel exploring process of hybridization, diaspora, nationalism and transnationalism. He founded Yuval Music Series and is editor of the acclaimed CD series Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel. Besides his academic activities he is active in the music scene of Israel and abroad in diverse capacities as producer, advisor, member of the board of musical institutions and representative to the International Music Council (UNESCO). He has been awarded several prestigious prizes, among them the Israel Prize in the field of musicology for 2018.
Peter Bergamin completed his DPhil in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford in 2016, with a thesis that traced the ideological development of the pro-Fascist, Revisionist Zionist ideologue, Abba Ahimeir. His research focuses on Maximalist-Revisionist Zionism, and Jewish anti-British resistance during the period of the Mandate for Palestine. He is currently working on a monograph based on his doctoral thesis (The Makings of a Zionist Revolutionary: Abba Ahimeir’s Ideological Genesis, 1921-1934), as well as carrying out research for a new project that examines Britain’s decision to withdraw from Mandate Palestine, in 1947. In the future, he hopes to combine his previous experience as a musician with his current research interests, in projects that will examine the effects of antisemitism on Gustav Mahler’s directorship of the Vienna Court Opera, and antisemitic characterisations in the operas of Richard Wagner. In addition, he is a tutor for the Visiting Student Programme at Mansfield College, Oxford.
Daniel Schumann is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow with a project entitled “A New Methodology for Comparative Analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Cognate Literature”. He completed his PhD in Theology (New Testament and Ancient Judaism) at Münster University in 2018, with a thesis on vows in Ancient Judaism and Earliest Christianity that had a special focus on the possibilities and limits of making exegetical and historical use of Rabbinic texts in the course of elucidating traditions from the time of the Second Temple. In the future, he hopes to combine the outcomes of his PhD thesis and his postdoctoral project in a textbook on comparative work in the study of the New Testament and Ancient Judaism.
Yael Fisch submitted her PhD dissertation titled Paul’s Interpretation of Scripture and the Pre-History of Midrash at Tel Aviv University (2018). She is interested in scriptural interpretation in antiquity and in the history of hermeneutical methods (allegory, typology, pesher, midrash) and in the possibilities (and limitations) on using the Paul’s letters in the reconstructing early and under-documented Jewish interpretative traditions in the first century CE. She has also worked and published on parallel traditions between Josephus and the Rabbis. In her postdoctoral project, titled The Hermeneutics of Torah to the Gentiles: Scripture Beyond Ethnic Particularity, she intends to explore Jewish discourses from Alexandria and Judea/Palestine that think of scripture as addressing non-Jews as well as Jews, and the ways by which these discourses have reshaped Torah and its interpretative practices. Beyond a contribution to the field of scriptural interpretation, she intends the project to serve as a critical inquiry into the ancient Jewish roots of universalism.
Aaron W. Hughes is the Philip S. Bernstein Professor in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester, where he also directs the Center for Jewish Studies. He is the author of sixteen books, twelve edited volumes, and over eighty articles and book chapters. He is also the co-editor of the 20-volume Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophy. Books titles include The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought (2004); Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History (2012); Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast (2016); and Shared Identities: Medieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam (2017).
His time at Oxford is supported by a fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), where he will work on a project tentatively titled “Silent History: Judaism on the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammad.”
Danielle Drori completed her PhD in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in 2018. Her research focuses on the ties between literary translation and nationalism, bringing together contemporary theories of cultural transfer and the study of modern Hebrew literature. She is currently working on a project that explores the first Hebrew translations of Benjamin Disraeli’s work as part of a larger research project tentatively titled ‘Hebrew Victorians: Zionism in Translation.’ She has taught at Tel Aviv University, New York University, the City College of New York, and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Her articles about world literature and Jewish language politics have been published in the journals Prooftexts, Hebrew Higher Education, and PaRDeS, and she occasionally contributes to the Los Angeles Review of Books.