American Jewish Music

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American Jewish Music from the Milken Archives with Leonard Nimoy – Leonard Nimoy hosts a 13-part series that celebrates the American Jewish tradition by exploring the extraordinary range of its music.

Each program illuminates a major theme reflected in American Jewish music: biblical epics set to music by Kurt Weill and other 20th century masters; Jewish legends in tone poems, film scores and operas; sacred masterpieces and the great cantorial tradition; the joy of klezmer; symphonies and concertos based on Jewish themes; the mysteries of  Sephardic music;  Holocaust reflections;  songs from the  Golden Age of  Yiddish Theater; and world premieres of recently discovered Jewish compositions by Leonard Bernstein.

It is a fine expose of Jewish contributions to the culture in America and extremely well done by Gerard Schwartz and Neil Levin.  Leonard Nimoy’s narration throughout the brief list here is exceptional .  The entire 13 part series is not available, but the sample here is well worth the listen. (customer review)

Milken Archive

A musical adventure of historic scope and proportion, the Milken Archive was founded in 1990 to document, preserve, and disseminate the vast body of music that pertains to the American Jewish experience. Over two decades, the Milken Archive has become the largest collection of American Jewish music ever assembled—more than 700 recorded works, including over 500 world premier recordings. But the Milken Archive, known primarily up to now for its groundbreaking 50-CD series released on the Naxos label, is far more than a recording project. The Milken Archive’s collection consists of 800 hours of oral histories, 50,000 photographs and historical documents, and thousands of hours of video footage from recording sessions, interviews, and live performances, plus an extensive collection of program notes and essays—the vast majority written by Artistic Director Neil W.  Levin, Professor of  Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary and one of the foremost authorities on Jewish music — that provide historical and cultural context.

Leonard Simon Nimoy

Leonard Simon Nimoy is an American actor,  film director,  poet,  musician, and photographer. Nimoy’s fame rests on his playing the role of  Spock in the original Star Trek series 1966-1969, as well as reprising the role in multiple film, television and video game sequels.

Nimoy began his career in his early twenties, teaching acting classes in Hollywood and making minor film and television appearances through the 1950s, as well as playing the title role to Kid Monk Baroni. In 1953, he served in the United States Army. In 1965, he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, and would go on to play the character until 1969, followed by seven further films and a number of guest slots in various sequels. His character of Spock generated a significant cultural impact and three Emmy Award nominations; TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters. Nimoy also had a recurring role in Mission: Impossible and a narrating role in Civilization IV, as well as several well-received stage appearances.

He is now officially retired from acting.

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