Libraries and Archives with Jewish Music Collections

Beth Hatefutsoth. Feher Jewish Music Center

Beth Hatefutsoth, The Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, is located on the campus of Tel Aviv University in Ramat Aviv, Israel. The Feher Jewish Music Center, located on the second floor, maintains a collection of more than 4,000 recordings of Jewish music and a computerized database to aid access. The public is invited to listen to music in the collection at the Center. The Center also produces CD’s and organizes concerts. The webpage currently features information about a new CD on music from the pre-war Reform Berlin Congregation with samples of the music.

Chicago Public Library Jewish Music Archive

A public library collection whose primary donor, Cyril Robinson, has traveled to worldwide Jewish music events since 1997 to record live performances, interview musicians, and gather related material. This archive includes sound recordings, and digital and physical objects. “A special emphasis of the collection is klezmer, a distinct musical genre based on traditional Jewish folk music. Unique recordings of live performances, lectures, and masterclasses from worldwide music festivals and venues provide many examples of contemporary klezmer bands and Jewish musicians. Recorded interviews also document these musicians’ individual oral histories and personal experiences with Jewish music and Jewish life.” All this makes many of these items unique to the study of contemporary American Jewish culture. An online inventory gives the depth of the collection and an alphabetical list of interviews refers to full citations in the inventory.…

Florida Atlantic University Molly Fraiberg Judaica Collections

“FAU’s Judaica Music Rescue Project is part of the Molly Fraiberg Judaica Collections located at the Wimberly Library at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton, Florida campus. The Collections are open to visitors on an appointment basis. The Project has collected more than 15,000 78-rpm phonograph records of Jewish music, making it one of the largest collections of vintage Jewish music in the world. The Project’s database includes Yiddish theater music, Hebrew folk music, Cantorial chants, Sephardic music and any other music that is captured on a 78-rpm record and can be considered to be Jewish. The website allows browsers to search the database, find out more about the project and listen to the music in a non-downloadable streaming audio format (when available). The Judaica Music Rescue Project is urgently seeking 78-rpm recordings of Yiddish, Hebrew and Sephardic music (both secular and religious) for inclusion in its collection.…

Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews

Many of you will be thrilled to learn that UC Davis, as part of the Digital Libraries Initiative, has mounted much of the archive online from the collections of Samuel Armistead, Joseph Silverman and Israel Katz. Armistead, of course, did one of the largest bibliographies and collection of Sephardic materials, starting nearly 50 years ago. This is an online bibliography, but also a searchable database of recorded music, field recordings, oral history and oral literature. It is truly remarkable. There are transcripts to follow while you listen to the field recording excerpts! It’s keyword searchable in Spanish. There are also extensive histories online and other explanatory notes and articles full text. Try it, it’s incredible. This is for everyone interested in the Sephardic heritage.

Gratz College Schreiber Jewish Music Library

“The Schreiber Jewish Music Library is one of the most extensive collections of its kind in the world. Centered around the Eric Mandell Collection, it includes more than 20,000 books, scores, records, tapes, and compact discs. It encompasses holdings in Jewish liturgy, Yiddish Theater, Ashkenazic hazzanut, Sephardic chants and popular music from America, Europe, and Israel. The Kutler Jewish Instrumental Library features compositions by Jewish composers or on Jewish themes for solo and ensemble instruments.” Schreiber Jewish Music library
Gratz College
7605 Old York Road
Melrose Park, PA 19027

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Klau Library Cincinnati. Eduard Birnbaum Collection

Handwritten vocal scores written between 1825 to 1860 along with over 300 folio volumes represent an impressive collection of rare documents in Jewish music. The Birnbaum collections contain synagogue music written or printed between 1700 and 1910. Other music in the HUC-JIR collection in Cincinnati includes sound recordings and musical publications from Europe and the United States dating to early twentieth century.

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. School of Sacred Music. Klau Library, Music Collections

The Klau Library at HUC-JIR in New York contains 130,000 volumes of Judaica, including collections supporting the cantorial school. The collection includes sounds recordings, sheet music, and microfilms. The School of Sacred Music cantorial collections are focused and specific. They include a significant number of vertical files of sheet music and printed scores of liturgical music. Access to these materials is limited and requests should be made ahead of arrival. Music reference and research materials are limited, and the general public in NYC would be better served obtaining access through the NYPL collections.

Jewish Music Research Centre. Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Th Hebrew University Department of Musicology offers studies in Jewish music research. The Jewish Music Research Centre of the Jewish National and University Library of Hebrew University on Givat Ram contain the National Sound Archives and several large special collections of Jewish music. Among these are the A.Z. Idelsohn Archives, the recordings collection of Robert Lachmann and recordings of music from Jews around the world. Contains an excellent thesaurus of articles about Jewish music.

Jewish National and University Library, Hebrew University

The Jewish National and University Library of Hebrew University on Givat Ram contain the National Sound Archives and several large special collections of Jewish music. Among these are the A.Z. Idelsohn Archives, the recordings collection of Robert Lachmann and recordings of music from Jews around the world. JNUL contains an excellent thesaurus of articles about Jewish music and works closely with the Department of Musicology of Hebrew University and the Jewish Music Research Centre. At some point in the near future, the Jewish National Library and Sound Archive will move to a new facility.

Jewish Theological Seminary. Music Archives and Sabin Family Music Library

The Jewish music library supports the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the JTS. The music library contains more than 5,500 reference materials, general Jewish music, cantor’s notebooks, music histories, scores, and sound recordings. Other historical materials include liturgical music,published and unpublished, from late-nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe and Russia. The library serves as a “repository for the history of Jewish music in the United States.” The music archives are part of the JTS special collections. Of special note are the papers of Max Wohlberg, Solomon Rosowsky, Herbert Fromm and Samuel Rosenbaum with finding aids available online. The JTS music archives contains the manuscripts of the Putterman Collection, which were commissioned works for synagogue.
For more information contact
Dr. Eliott Kahn, Music Archivist,
Jewish Theological Seminary
3080 Broadway,
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 678-8076
Fax: (212) 678-8998

Judah L.Magnes Museum and Blumenthal Library

Both the Western Jewish History Center and the Museum’s Blumenthal Library have collections relating to music. The Western Jewish History Center has: the Flora Jacobi Arnstein collection, which contains some material about the composer Frederick Jacobi; the Sigmund Anker collection (Anker was a violinist with the San Francisco philharmonic); the Daisy Cohn collection; the Regina Gans collection; the Solomon Goldman collection (which contains letters from Ernest Bloch); another small Ernest Bloch collection; the Jennie Harris collection (Jennie Harris was a songwriter); the Ellis Kohs collection; the Reuben Rinder collection (Rinder was a cantor of San Francisco’s Emanu-El, 1913-1959); the Bashe Rubenchik Rosenbloom collection; the Oscar Weil collection (Wiel was a composer of light opera and songs); and a very small Darius Milhaud collection, relating to his opera, David.”The library is a significant repository of Jewish music and recordings and played a key role in the revival of Klezmer music… The library also contains sheet music of songs and poems written in German ghettos and concentration camps during World War II.” Both the Center and the Blumenthal Library are open, Monday-Thursday, 11am-5pm, by appointment only.…

Kaufman Cultural Center

The Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center in the Abraham Goodman House at 129 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023 has recordings of non-commercial broadcast tapes of Israeli classical music from Kol Israel. They are catalogued in a card catalog. Public access to the library is available on a limited basis. Users may listen to materials in the library only and may not check out recordings. Sundays 10-6, Mon. & Wed. 2-6 and Friday 10-3.

Library of Congress. Selected Jewish music collections.

The Library of Congress Aaron Copland Collection
Part of the American Memories Project, this website includes links to the featured items in the Aaron Copland collections, including visual images and texts of personal letters, his own writings, his sketches and manuscripts of music, and photographs. An extensive and thorougly organized primary source on the music of Copland. Also includes an index and a search screen.

The Library of Congress Leonard Bernstein Collection
“This online Leonard Bernstein Collection makes available a selection of 85 photographs, 177 scripts from the Young People’s Concerts, 74 scripts from the Thursday Evening Previews, and over 1,100 pieces of correspondence, in addition to the collection’s complete Finding Aid.”

The Library of Congress Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco Collection
Papers of Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco are held in the Library of Congress.…

Milken Archive of American Jewish Music

The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, under the artistic direction of Neil Levin, has been working on producing a CD set of 50-80 CDs that will be a comprehensive examination of a diverse body of Jewish music. There will be over 700 titles of pieces of music in the collection when completed. The recording project is only the first of several ambitious projects planned, including a comprehensive history of Jewish music in the United States, and a working archive including audio recordings, videotaped oral histories, and composer interviews and other materials. The Archive is preparing to comission curricula for study at high school and college levels. Other notables involved with the project, which includes several composers and musicologists, are: Samuel Adler, Ofer Ben-Amots, Martin Bookspan, Charles Davidson, Henry Fogel, Lukas Foss, Morton Leifman, Gerard Schwarz, Paul Schwendener, Barry Serota, and Edwin Seroussi.…

New York Public Library Digital Library Collections. Heskes (Irene) Collection of Jewish Songsters [1915-ca.1990]

This collection holds 151 folders in 8 boxes in the Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Classmark: JPB 95-2. The contents are a variety of Jewish songsters and published books of Jewish music. Irene Heskes wrote the scope and content notes for this collection, explaining the usefulness of the collection for studying showing: “Changes in melodic and literary styles indicate socio-ethnic and historic influences upon the tastes of a singing people – young and adult, amateur and professional.”

New York Public Library, Music Division

The New York Public Library Music Division has extensive publications, sound recordings, reference and other materials about music. There are extensive holding in Jewish music. The catalog, called CATNYP, is available for searching online for complete holdings information. Finding aids to special collections are available in the library. Some finding aids have been digitized and are online (see below). The Lincoln Center Branch is located at Lincoln Center, just to the right of the front entrance to the opera. It contains much American theater music.

New York University Fales Library Special Collections, Sholom Secunda Papers

American Yiddish theater and classical composer, Sholom Secunda’s papers are 111 boxes of materials containing, manuscripts, published scores, photographs, correspondence, theatrical, liturgical, and art music, and sound recordings. Materials formerly held at the New York Public Library’s, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts have been moved to the Fales Library Special Collections, combining collections to have the bulk of Secunda’s papers in one place.


One of the largest and most important sets of collections about music anywhere in the world, the NYPL also contains vast collections of music by Jews in America and elsewhere. The NYPL is made of many divisions, and researchers in Jewish music may have to use several of them. There is the general Music Division, The Rogers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, Billy Rose Theatre Collection, the Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Collections run the gamut from Benny Goodman to Bruno Walter, from Irving Berlin sound recordings to Frederick Jacobi to Jan Peerce sound recordings, to name a few. Below are samples of the finding aids to collections and the types of materials that can be found.

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. Asher Library. Targ Center for Jewish Music

The Spertus Institute in Chicago, with a Jewish public library of over 105,000 items, 550 current periodical subscriptions, over 1,000 Jewish-interest feature films and documentaries, houses a special collection of Jewish music with thousands of sound recordings and sheet music. The library also houses the Chicago Jewish Archives. Hours and more information are on the website.

The Academy for Jewish Religion

The Academy for Jewish Religion, located at 6301 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, NY 10471. Phone: 718 543-9360. They train cantors in a Jewish pluralistic environment. Cantors are trained to “lead dynamic, spiritually uplifting, meaningful religious services in all denominational liturgies and nusach.” They also train rabbis. “It offers full or part time study and mechina programs. Cantorial and rabbinic students study and learn together and ordination is conferred on both Rabbinic and Cantorial graduates.” Students are grounded in nusach and in contemporary liturgical music.

The Australian Archive of Jewish Music

Founded in 1994, the Australian Archive of Jewish Music focuses on Jewish music as found in Australia and Asia. The Archive has around 1,000 records, over 200 audio-cassettes and approximately 50 video-cassettes. The collection is also a window to the Jewish music cultures that developed along trade routes to Asian cities such as Bombay, Rangoon, Singapore, Penang, Jakarta, Surabaya, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The Felicja Blumental Music Center & Library

The Blumental Library is located at 26 Bialik St. in Tel-Aviv. It was previously known as the A.M.L.I. (Americans for a Music Library in Israel) – Central Music Library. Collections are primarily classical music, with large collections in Israeli music, song books, chazzanut, and Yiddish including 18,000 records, over 2000 CDs and 130 video cassettes. Library hours are: Sun. Tues.: 9 – 14. Mon. Wed. Thurs.: 12 – 19. For more information: contact Ryna Kedar, Head, Acquisitions & Cataloging Division, The Felicja Blumental Music Center & Library Tel-Aviv, Israel.


UCLA. Music Library Special Collections, Ernest Toch Archive
A special collection of the music of Ernest Toch is located in the UCLA Music Library. Here the works of the great Jewish Austrian/American composer reside, including manuscripts, printed scores, photographs, recordings and books. Interesting links lead to resources including an article in The Atlantic Monthly by the composers’ grandson.

UCLA. Music Library Special Collections, Eric Zeisl Archive
The Eric Zeisl Archive at UCLA houses “manuscripts, published scores, correspondence, documents, recordings, and other material.” The website includes links to finding aids of the manuscript and correspondence collections.

University of London. Jewish Music Institute Library Database

Keynote, the flagship database of the new Jewish Music Institute Library is now available online and is searchable. It has been developed in consultation with the British Library National Sound Archive. Keynote also includes a “tune manager” and find any phrase in a tune in the database. “Keynote is particularly set up to provide detailed searchable instrumentation of scores and manuscripts.” The Jewish Music Institute is an independent arts organisation, established in March 2000, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. A Jewish Music Library is scheduled for dedication in March, 2003.

University of London. The Doris and Bertie Black Library and Archive of Jewish Music

The School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of London has established a new Jewish Music library as part of the Jewish Music Institute. The Library is seeking donations of Jewish music and books. For more information, please contact:
Jewish Music Institute
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
Tel: (44) +20 8909 2445
Fax: (44) +20 8909 1030

Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine: The Phonoarchive of Jewish Folklore

A re-recording project, carried out in 1996-1999,is one of the most important recent finds in Jewish music. The collaborative project between the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, a library of over 14 million items, and the Institute for Information Recording of the NAS of Ukraine, is resulting in first fruits: a 1997 CD, “Treasures of Jewish Culture in Ukraine” with a promised next release of a CD dedicated to the folklore activity of Joel Engel. The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine Phonoarchive project in Jewish music is written about in an online article at: . The main library site, produced by the Ukraine government, is located at: and includes information about this largest library in Ukraine.…

YIVO. Archives and Library Music Collection

YIVO holds one of the world’s largest collections of Eastern European Jewish sound recordings and Jewish sheet music. Materials must be consulted onsite. Researchers are requested to call for an appointment for access to the Archives. “This collection consists of published and unpublished works of Yiddish and Hebrew; art, folk, popular, and theater music; Holocaust songs; liturgical and Hasidic music; choral music; and instrumental compositions. It includes several thousand pieces of published sheet music by composers and arrangers such as Abraham Ellstein, Abraham Goldfaden, Pinchas Jassinowski, Alexander Olshanetzky, Joseph Rumshinsky, and Sholem Secunda. It also includes published and unpublished choral, folk, classical, popular, liturgical, Hasidic, and Holocaust-related music by many different composers; as well as programs, clippings, photographs, and other documents about Jewish music.” Outstanding collections of cantorial and choral synagogue music, folk music and theater music can be in the archives.…

YUVAL. The Italian Center for the Study of Jewish Music(Centro di studi sulla musica ebraica)

YUVAL Italia – (Centro di Studi sulla Musica Ebraica), was founded in January 1997, in Milan, Italy. Its fundamental purpose is to provide written and aural documentation of Jewish musical traditions, particularly those in Italy. It holds a Library and a Sound Archive, and provides contacts to musicians and music festivals throughout the country. The Center, founded with the aid of Professor Israel Adler, is the first of its kind in Italy and operates in collaboration with the Jewish Music Research Center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. YUVAL Italia is currently directed by Dr.Francesco Spagnolo. YUVAL produces a weekly live radio show from Radio Popolare, Milan.
For more information you may write to the following address:
YUVAL Italia –Centro di Studi sulla Musica Ebraica
via della Guastalla, 19
20122 Milano, ITALY.…