Art Musics of Israel: Identities, Ideologies, Influences

International Conference


Identities, Ideologies, Influences

Monday 28 March – Thursday 31 March 2011

University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1

An International Conference with contributions from musicologists, ethnomusicologists, composers and performers.


Presented by the

Jewish Music Institute Forum for Israeli Music at the

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

in association with the

Institute of Musical Research, School of Advanced Study,

University of London


Conference Director Dr Malcolm Miller (UK)



Professor Jehoash Hirshberg (Israel), Professor Amnon Shiloah (Israel),

Professor Richard Taruskin (USA), Professor Arnold Whittall (UK)

and members of the Academic Board (see below).


The provisional programme and booking form are now available at




CALL FOR PAPERS – deadline extended to 23 July

Submissions are invited from scholars, composers, performers and practitioners, for papers and presentations for the above conference.


Israel has become the home of a range of art musics that are not widely familiar, and represents a fascinating crucible for the study of creativity in a young nation state. The combinations of European traditions and Middle Eastern soundscapes in all types of art music traditions in Israel reflect the diversity of socio-cultural influences on its heterogeneous population. Drawing on a wide range of geographical and historical sources, concert repertories in Israel have evolved from the melting-pot ideologies of the early to mid 20th century composers to the more multi-faceted international identities of younger generations in the 21st century.


This conference intends to explore the ways in which Israeli music and musical life throw light on aesthetic issues of wide relevance. These include the balance of regional and international musical elements, the interfaces between art and popular styles and the integration of a variety of musical sources, such as liturgical, folk, pop and local idioms. Discussion about repertories that challenge conventional notions of genre and style will also be welcome.


PAPERS, OF 30 MINUTES based on new research and to include musical examples, will be welcomed – as will live or recorded musical presentations of 1 hour about specific composers by composers or performers that include some scholarly introduction to the material.

THE FOLLOWING THEMES are intended to guide eventual coordination of the conference, but do not rule out other proposals:

• NATIONALISM AND IDENTITY, including comparative work related to other national musics and contemporary concepts of national identity in music

• ART MUSIC TRADITIONS AND PERFORMANCE STYLES, including Arabic, European and Jewish  repertories

• IDEOLOGY AND PRACTICE in the conscious use of sources such as biblical cantillation; Ashkenazi and Sephardi liturgical and folk music, Arabic musics and performing traditions

• CROSS FERTILIZATION between art/concert musics and Israeli/Middle Eastern folk and pop musics

• PERFORMANCE AND POLITICS including Palestinian-Israeli joint projects

• THE ROLE OF MUSIC INSTITUTIONS such as music schools, broadcasters, concert agencies and publishers on the impact of Israeli music inside and outside Israel

• COMPOSERS IN FOCUS: live or recorded musical presentations by or about significant composers or performers that include scholarly commentary, such as ‘A tribute to Josef Tal (1910-2008)’



THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE CONFERENCE IS ENGLISH. It is envisaged that selected papers will be published in a volume of proceedings. There will be an award for the best paper by a postgraduate student.


PLEASE SEND AN ABSTRACT OF 250 to 300 WORDS together with your biography of up to 150 words, and with your contact details, by Friday 23 July, at 12 noon GMT to the Conference Director, Dr Malcolm Miller,


THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE will make its decisions by Monday 27 September 2010, and contributors will be informed soon thereafter.



FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, please contact the Conference Administrator at (Information about the programme, registration, travel and accommodation will be announced by the end of September 2010).




Dr Malcolm Miller, Chairman (Open University in London; Director, the JMI Forum for Israel Music)

Dr Rachel Beckles Willson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Professor Philip V Bohlman (University of Chicago)

Julian Dawes (Composer, London)

Professor Taiseer Elias (Head of Arabic Music, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance)

Professor Alexander Goehr (Emeritus, Cambridge University)

Professor Jehoash Hirshberg (Emeritus, Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

Professor John Irving (Director, Institute of Musical Research, London)

Professor Robert Saxton (Oxford University)

Professor Edwin Seroussi (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

Dr Ronit Seter, JMRC (Hebrew University, Jerusalem); Council Member, AMS (Capital Chapter).

Professor Malcolm Troup (Emeritus, City University, London)

Professor Arnold Whittall (Emeritus, King’s College London)

Dr Michael Wolpe (Head of Composition Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance)

Dr Abigail Wood (Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music, SOAS University of London)