Ashkenaz is pleased to support our friends at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in presenting a virtual lecture series throughout October, with our Artistic Director, Eric Stein.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, mandolin clubs and community orchestras were ubiquitous in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. Frequently associated with progressive social and political movements, the mandolin served a central role in music education at Jewish schools and provided one of the only outlets for pre-war Eastern European Jewish women to express themselves musically. Though the instrument was rarely associated with the professional musical traditions of pre-war Jewish life, many Jewish mandolinists would eventually emerge among the most influential practitioners of the instrument, within a variety of different musical styles.
Eric explores this long-overlooked history through rare photographs, ephemera, and recordings from a number of Jewish mandolin legends, placing the Jewish aﬀinity for the instrument in the context of broader cultural trends.