Polish-Jewish Studies Workshop

Polish-Jewish Studies Workshop

Head of Choral Activities, Head of Conducting

Distinguished Professor

Gardner received his undergraduate degree in voice from California State University at Hayward and his master of music and doctor of musical arts in choral conducting from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to moving to New York City to direct the Riverside Choral Society, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin. The Riverside Choral Society, which often performs as the chorus for the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, presents numerous major choral orchestral works each year in Manhattan. Gardner's choirs have given many world premieres, and he is also active as guest conductor, lecturer, and adjudicator. At Rutgers he is director of choral activities, conducts the Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir and the Rutgers University Glee Club, and teaches both undergraduate and graduate level conducting. He has recorded for Folkways, Albany, and Ethereal records.

Enriqueta Somarriba

Spanish pianist Enriqueta Somarriba has been praised by the New York Concert Review for her “aplomb” and her “natural, individual interpretation”. Her repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the 21st century, with focus on contemporary, Spanish and Latin American music. She has appeared at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Cervantes Institute, Liederkranz Concert Hall and internationally renowned venues in Italy, Belgium, France and Spain. She has recorded for RNE (Spanish National Radio), 98.7 WFMT Chicago, 89.1 WWFM radio and MSR Classics. Ms. Somarriba studied with Solomon Mikowsky at Manhattan School of Music and she is currently a DMA candidate at Rutgers University, where she serves as Lecturer.

Jihang Seo

Jihyang Seo is a DMA violin performance major student at Mason Gross Art of Rutgers University. She studied with Professor Soovin Kim, Philip Setzer, Jennifer Frautschi in the former school, Stony Brook University and is a current student of Professor Carmit Zori. She received the highest scholarship at Mason Gross Music Department. She was the concertmaster and principle second of RSO symphony.

Erin Schwab

Erin Schwab is a second year M.M. candidate in the studio of Judith Nicosia. She also holds her B.M. from Rutgers, along with an award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Music’ (2014). Further studies include the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program (2015), and the Castleton Artists' Training Seminar (2012-2014). Past roles include Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Die Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Venus (Venus & Adonis), Soeur Constance (Les Dialogues des Carmélites), La Princesse (L'enfant et les sortilèges), Alexandra (Regina), Ginevra (Ariodante), Nanetta (Falstaff), Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia), Noémie (Cendrillon) and Lucy Lockit (The Beggar's Opera). Upcoming engagements include the role of Nanetta (Falstaff) at the Crested Butte Music Festival. Erin is also an accomplished chorister and concert soloist.

Yenhsuan Lee

Yenhsuan Lee is currently a second-year master student at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Music under the tutelages of Daniel Panner and Yura Lee. A graduate of Cleveland Institute of Music, Lee has attended American Conservatory summer music festival in Fontainebleau, France and participated in masterclasses and lessons under the likes of Benjamin Zander, James Buswell, Jean Sulem, Peter Salaff, Yehudi Wyner, Pierre-Henri Xuereb and among many others.

Dr. Jordan Enzinger

With a versatile background in solo, chamber, and orchestral music, Dr. Jordan Enzinger is a dynamic freelance performing and teaching cellist in the New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia areas. He regularly performs with some of the area’s finest ensembles such as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Symphony, and Princeton Symphony in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kimmel Center. As a pedagogue Dr. Enzinger currently serves as collegiate cello faculty at Seton Hall University, instructing music majors and non-majors, guest lectures for collegiate music classes at Rutgers, serves as cello faculty at the Rutgers Extension Division and the Princeton String Academy, serves as chamber music faculty at the Rutgers Young Artist Program and the American String Teachers Association Chamber Music Institute, is a registered cello instructor for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and maintains his private cello studio in New Brunswick. His students have performed in Carnegie Hall, won prestigious competitions, and have received collegiate music scholarships.

The Theatrics of Bais Yaakov

The “revolution in the name of tradition” that was the Bais Yaakov movement incorporated even as it combatted many aspects of the cosmopolitan life of interwar Kraków, including youth culture, feminism, public education, and socialism. In this paper, I would like to focus on one of the less obvious channels of cultural exchange—the theater. The founder of Bais Yaakov, Sarah Schenirer, mentions attending avant-garde plays in a number of Polish diary entries (these mentions were censored in Yiddish and Hebrew translation). Her work for Bais Yaakov included writing plays, and her “textbooks,” mocked as unprofessional, might be read as scripts. Plays were important avenues for publicity and recruitment, and represented among the more visible and controversial aspects of Bais Yaakov culture. By focusing on the role of amateur theater in Bais Yaakov, I will argue that her founding of a girls’ school system meant not the abandonment of her interest in the theater but rather its transposition to a different stage. On this stage, the performative aspects of Bais Yaakov as a whole, particularly in its reshaping of girls’ gender roles, are brought into view.

 Jews for the Poles: The Monument of Casimir the Great and the Integrationist Strategies of the Progressive Jews in Kraków

In Krakow, similarly to other urban centers in the partitioned Polish lands, emerged a group of so-called progressive Jews who wanted to pray in the “modern manner” and opened a modern synagogue (“synagoga postępowa”, also called Tempel). In the second half of the 19th century the Tempel, which regularly organized pro-Polish manifestations commemorating Polish poets and writers and important events in the Polish history, became a center of Polish patriotism and Polonization.

The “cultural text” I would like to focus on is the description of the project of the statue of the Casimir the Great which was supposed to be built in Kazimierz (Jewish quarter in Krakow) in the last decade of the 19th century. The building committee constituted in 1880s from the progressive Jews and included the most prominent members of this synagogue. The committee was active for more than two decades and did not manage to raise the monument, although the works were significantly advanced (the project was already commissioned and the talks with the sculptor were advanced).
The statue was intended to be several meters tall and present the whole figure of the king. It was supposed to be built in the Wolnica square, namely in the old market square of the town Kazimierz, near the former town hall. The founds for this initiative were being collected exclusively among the Jews, mainly from Krakow, but also from the other cities. Because the money was collected only among Jews, the statue was presented as being a sort of a gift from the Jews to the whole society, composed from both Jews and Christians.

This initiative needs to be placed in several context, both historical and cultural, which reach beyond the most obvious one, namely the processes of assimilation and acculturation of Jews to the Polish culture. The most important are in my opinion the following contexts:

1) “The commemoration culture”. The project of building the statue of the Casimir the Great was similar to other initiatives of building the statues of the “great men” well established in the European culture. Moreover it was developed simultaneously to the project of building the statue of Adam Mickiewicz in Krakow, carried out by Christians. Since no Jews were invited to participate in the works the Mickiewicz’s memorial committee they symbolically forced the synergy between Jews and Christians by commemorating other figure important for the Polish nation as a whole, composed of both Poles and Jews.
2) The context of other initiatives, financed exclusively by Jews and devoted for both Christians and Jews. Progressive Jews since 1870s created a number of philanthropic initiatives and foundations which were supposed to support the needy Jews and Christians alike (“with no difference depending on the faith”, “bez różnicy wyznania”). Those initiatives included – among others – funding academic scholarships, buying the supply of coal for the winter, providing needy children with the daily hot meals. The founders of these social, philanthropic initiatives not only wanted to manifest their current pro-Polish attitude, but also wished to contribute to improvement of the future Christian-Jewish relations.

These initiatives – both building the monument and philanthropic ones – were actively creating a new social circumstances in which the separationist tendencies were to a certain extent surmounted. In this sense this strategy can be labeled as a strategy of “active” or systematic integrationism since it involved not only attitudes of the individuals and their entry to the non-Jewish social spheres, but actively created a new Christian-Jewish basis of cooperation. This cooperation required however a transgression from the traditional Jewish culture. On the one hand Jews involved in these initiatives stressed their Jewish identity (they acted as “Jews”, not simply as Polish citizens or “Poles of Mosaic faith”) but on the other hand they copied the modus operandi of the non-Jewish society.
The project of building the statue of Casimir the Great although in the 1880s and 1890s engaged numerous notable Krakow citizens and artists is nowadays completely forgotten. Interestingly in the last two decades various artistic, intellectual, political circles – having no knowledge about the 19th century Jewish initiative – have been discussing the idea of building the king’s statue in the Kazimierz district . As they asserted Krakow from all the cities due to its history should possess this kind of monument.

During the workshop I would like to draw participant’s attention to this project, present it in the above mentioned contexts and show how it could serve as a methodological tool in analyzing the agenda of the so-called progressive circles (praying in the Tempel/progressive synagogue).

Musical Tastes of Jewish Audience in Interwar Krakow

The paper discusses the issue of musical tastes of Jewish audience in interwar Krakow. This is an attempt to answer the question how these tastes influenced musical life of Krakowian Jews at that time. On the basis of the information contained in archival sources, memories, interwar Jewish press as well as the analysis of preserved musical scores it describes the repertoire created, performed and listened by Krakowian Jews. It focuses on the transformations of Jewish traditional musical genres but also expands the picture of musical life of Krakowian Jews by the genres adapted from European music culture. It shows the collaboration and synthesis of both musical world made due to the transformation of musical preferences and interests of Jewish audience. The analysis of historical, social, political and aesthetic factors shaping musical life of the Jewish community in interwar Krakow allows to look from a new perspective on this community itself and hopefully, contribute to its better understanding.