2014 Jewish Music and Identity Academic Conference

After years of tedious planning and hard work, the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies along with Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music, were able to present the 2014 Jewish Music and Identity Academic Conference.

The conference is occurring Oct. 19-21 and will host scholars from all over the world. Over the course of the three-day period, Jewish music, identity and culture will be discussed via lectures, musical presentations and a film screening.

Helene Sinnreich, the director of the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies at YSU and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Jewish Identities, said that a lot of planning and effort went into making this conference the gathering she and many others hoped it would be.

“We have been planning this conference for a number of years, so at other conferences we have been able to get the word out and have talked to people,” Sinnreich said. “We’ve been able to partner with some of the music scholars to be our co-organizers. … We were able to put together a strong group of scholars that way. It’s a really unique conference; many people are really excited about talking about the topic. The more people signed on, the more people wanted to come. It was a build up.”

On Sunday, Maureen Jackson, ethnomusicologist specializing in Sephardic culture, presented her lecture “Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song,” to a group at the McKay Auditorium in Beeghly Hall.

There was also a reservation-only Indian Dinner held at the Jewish Community Center at 6 p.m. that night followed by a performance by the Om Shalom Trio.

Different events were scheduled to take place at the Chestnut Room in the Kilcawley Center on Monday, including different discussions, lectures and musical performances.

A screening of the film “Iraq n’ Roll,” a film about an Israeli rock musician named Dudu Tassa and his journey to bring the original music of his grandfather back to life, was played at Williamson Hall.

Sinnreich said that after the movie screening, many different musicians from the conference would be performing informally in Boardman.

“After, not well known to the public, informally, the musicians from the conference are heading over Vintage Estates in Boardman to have an informal jam session. Joel Rubin, a well known clarinetist, will be there and they’re just going to do an improv kind of thing and have fun,” Sinnreich said. “There will also be some music professors from Dana. To see Joel Rubin, you usually have to pay some serious money, and there he is going to be, there up on stage, free.”

The conference will come to a close on Oct. 21 after the topics of Popular American Music and Music in the Youth Culture are discussed between scholars.

For more information about the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies along with YSU’s Dana School of Music, visit their websites at http://web.ysu.edu/class/judaic/ and http://web.ysu.edu/ccac/music.

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