Rediscovering Joseph Achron

Monday, December 12, 2011
7:30pm until 9:30pm
Location: Conservative Yeshiva (in the Old Beit Midrash), 8 Agron Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Join us for pizza, music, and an exciting discussion on the important but forgotten musical legacy of Joseph Achron (1886-1943), one of the greatest composers of “Jewish Classical Music”, and the efforts of a young organization to bring his works back to the stage.

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Joseph Achron Society.

100 years ago, in December 1911, the brilliant young composer Joseph Achron wrote his first “Jewish” composition: “Hebrew Melody”, Op. 33 for violin and piano. From that moment on, Achron became one of the most significant leaders of a movement to compose “Jewish Classical Music”, a novel concept which had never before been developed. His work in this field – as a composer, philosopher, and cultural activist – shows a deep struggle with many of the same cultural and identity issues still faced by many Jews today. This, together with the strong artistic and historical significance of his musical work, offers a particularly important and meaningful, if unknown, counterpart to the well-known Jewish national literary and visual art traditions of Sholem Aleichem, Marc Chagall, and others.

Small- and large-group discussions will explore the question of “What makes music Jewish?”, a question at the heart of Achron’s legacy. We’ll read excerpts from Achron’s own writings on this subject and listen to samples of his music to spark ideas and further questions. In addition, Joseph Achron Society Founder and President Samuel Zerin will give a brief biographical overview of Achron’s life, describe some of Achron’s important ideas and achievements, and introduce the current work of the Joseph Achron Society in reviving Achron’s forgotten legacy.