Sara Levy's World

One of the Itzig daughters, probably Sara Itzig Levy, in a portrait by Anton Graff. Courtesy of Chrisoph Wolff.
A salon scene in an engraving by Antoine Jean Duclos after a painting by Augustin de St.-Aubin. 1774
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788), copper engraving by Johann Heinrich Lips (1776) made after a painting by Johann Philipp Bach (c. 1773). (Source: Bach Archiv, Leipzig)
Clavichord from the workshop of organ builder Gottfried Silbermann (c. 1750). (Source: Musikinstrumenten-Museum Markneukirchen)

Sara Levy's World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin

This symposium, held on September 29-30, 2014, presented a new view of Sara Levy (1761–1854), a Jewish salonnière, patron, and performing musician who shaped the cultural ideals of her time. Levy overcame obstacles of religion and gender to transform Berlin’s artistic landscape, becoming a catalyst for the Bach revival of the 19th century. Through lectures, discussions, and concerts, the conference provided new insight into the issues of artistry, identity, and gender in Levy’s time and ours. The interdisciplinary nature of this symposium, the inter-departmental collaboration it represents, and the international stature of the symposium participants underscore the potential for mutually reinforcing research in the arts and humanities at Rutgers.


See the Jewish Week article on the May 19, 2015 program reprising last year's symposium at the Center for Jewish History Leo Baecke program

Musicology Now, the blog of the American Musicological Society, published an entry on Sara Levy and her World by Center Director and symposium co-organizer Nancy Sinkoff


Generous support provided by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

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 **This program was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in the program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment forthe Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Sara Levy
Music and Videos

Click the player above for a sample of music associated with Sara Levy: W. F. Bach, Fantasy in D. Minor, Fk. 19. Rebecca Cypess, harpsichord


Sara Levys Salon

Click the image above to bring up videos of the conference performances and presentations

Sara Levy Symposium Sponsors

A Collaborative Project Sponsored by the Mason Gross School of the Arts, the School of Arts and Sciences, the Center for European Studies, the Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, the Department of Jewish Studies, the Department of Music, the Department of History, and the Department of German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures.

Also with the generous support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities

Friedrich II. of Prussia (1712–1786),(Source: Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Inventar-Nr. A 2091)
Title page of Carl Philip Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments)
Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773), etching by Johann David Schleuen d.Ä. (1767)
The Word Unheard
Landmark Yiddish Plays
Out of the Shtetl
Juden Burger Berliner
Rachel Varnhagen text