The Most Musical Nation


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Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire

James Loeffler

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Drawing on a mass of unpublished writings and archival sources from prerevolutionary Russian conservatories, this book offers an insightful account of the Jewish search for a modern identity in Russia through music, rather than politics or religion.

James Loeffler is associate professor of history at the University of Virginia.

“With this solid, savvy, and satisfying book, Loeffler advances Jewish studies, music history, and Russian studies by shedding new light on the stage of a twentieth-century social and musical drama.”—Mark Slobin, author of Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World

“The Jews’ remarkable place in the modern history of music – classical, popular and folk – is well known, but rarely subjected to serious analysis. Loeffler’s sophisticated and deeply researched book casts new light both on the Jewish contribution to music in general and to the emergence of specifically ‘Jewish music’ in the Russian Empire, home to the largest and most vital Jewish community in the world."—Ezra Mendelsohn, The Hebrew University

“James Loeffler’s new book is both fascinating and pathbreaking. This important and original contribution to scholarship must be read by students of music, Russian culture, and Jewish history.”—Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, and Music Director and Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

“Lively and informed.”—Benjamin Ivry, The Forward


"Excellent."—Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine

"Fascinating. . . deserves a readership well beyond the scholarly or musicological."—Simon Wynberg, ARC Ensemble

"A significant contribution to cultural history. . . beautifully written. . . a pleasure to read."—Ellen Schiff,

“An elegant, moving account . . . [a] fine book.”—Simon Morrison, Musica Judaica

". . . meticulously researched study . . . [a] compelling historical narrative."—Klara Moricz, Slavic Review

Winner of the 2011 University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies sponsored by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Book Prize for Jewish Literature, as given by the Jewish Book Council.

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Music category.

Won the Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book sponsored by ASCAP

Honorable Mention from the Association for Jewish Studies, Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Cultural Studies and Media Studies.

Long-listed for the 2012 Historia Nova Prize for the Best Book on Russian Intellectual History sponsored by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation and Academic Studies Press.
ISBN: 9780300198300
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
288 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
26 b/w illus.
Rooted Cosmopolitans

Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century

James Loeffler

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