Friday, April 16, 2021

Musical Convergences: From Yiddish Art Song to African American Spiritual—Online Performance and Discussion, April 22 

WHEN: April 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Advance registration is required at

Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, an award-winning American singer and musician specializing in Yiddish song, has created remarkable music influenced by very diverse traditions—Yiddish art songs, African American Spirituals, Chassidic melodies, folk songs from the African American South, and more. Russell will give a performance and engage in discussion about the musical convergences that define his work. Dr. Josh Kun, an award-winning cultural historian, will moderate the program, navigating through the rich worlds of sound from which Russell creates his unique and inventive interpretations.

This online program is presented by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University. It is the Abram Matlofsky Memorial Program supported by the Karma Foundation, and cosponsored by the Department of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts. 

Anthony Russell is a vocalist, composer, and arranger of Yiddish song whose work in Jewish music has brought him to stages all over the world. His work includes the album Convergence (2018) with the klezmer band Veretski Pass, and also performances and recordings with the band Tsvey Brider (Two Brothers), which creates contemporary, idiosyncratic, and unique interpretations of music in the Yiddish language.

Dr. Josh Kun, a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, is professor and chair in cross-cultural communication, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. An expert on the intersection of arts, culture, and politics, his books and curated projects include Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America (2005), and Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations (2010).

The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life connects the university with the community through public lectures, symposia, Jewish communal initiatives, cultural events, and teacher training.