Rebecca Cypess, co-organizer and recitalist, is Assistant Professor of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Cypess holds a BA in music from Cornell University, a MMus in harpsichord performance from the Royal College of Music (London), an MA in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University, and an MA, MPhil, and PhD in music history from Yale University. Prior to her work at Rutgers, she served for four years as a faculty member in musicology at the New England Conservatory. As a teacher, researcher, and performer Cypess specializes in the history, interpretation, and performance practices of music in 17th- and 18th-century Europe, with special emphasis on connections between music and other fields, including art history and the history of science. She is co-editor of the two-volume collection of essays Word, Image, and Song (2013), and her book, "Curious and Modern Inventions": Music and Instrumentality in Early Modern Italy, is under contract with the University of Chicago Press. She has also published widely in scholarly journals of her field, including the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music & Letters, Early Music, and the Journal of Musicology. She has presented her work at national conferences of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Association for Jewish Studies among others.

Cypess is committed to the idea that music of the early modern era can be profoundly relevant to contemporary audiences, and her concerts often seek to present early music in new ways—for example, through multi-media presentations that include visual artwork and poetry, or through exploration of new concert formats. These concerts fuse her humanistic research in musicology with her activities as a performer, and they offer contemporary public audiences the opportunity to experience the vitality of early music. The program "In Sara Levy's Salon" will be based on her investigations of primary materials related to Levy's musical practices (these have been supported by a William H. Scheide Research Grant from the American Bach Society), with the goal of immersing the public audience of this conference in the historical knowledge that she brings to light.

In her writing Cypess is equally committed to presenting her research to a wide public audience. She was commissioned to write a series of articles for the Encyclopaedia Britannica on early modern women in music (these are all available in the current edition of the EB), which adhere to the highest level of intellectual rigor yet are designed for a non-specialist readership. She also frequently writes program notes based on her research for concerts presented in premiere musical venues, including the Boston Early Music Festival, the Edinburgh Music Festival, and Lincoln Center. The conference "Sara Levy's World" represents another step in Cypess's efforts to bring her academic work in musicology and performance to an interdisciplinary and public audience.

Nancy Sinkoff, co-organizer, is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History, and Director of the Center for European Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Sinkoff holds a BA from Harvard University, an MA from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and an MA, MPhil and PhD from Columbia University. Her fields of interest include early modern and modern Jewish history, East European Jewish intellectual history, the Enlightenment, politics, and gender. Her most recent publications include Out of the Shtetl: Making Jews Modern in the Polish Borderland (2004), "Yidishkayt and the Making of Lucy S. Dawidowicz," the introduction to Dawidowicz, From That Place and Time, 1938-1947: A Memoir (2008); "Lucy S. Dawidowicz," American National Biography,; "Sefer Ḥeshbon ha-Nefesh," Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur, vol. 5, (Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler).Her book, "Last Witness": Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History, is in progress. She has published in The Journal of the History of Ideas, The Association of Jewish Studies Review, Studies in Contemporary Jewry, and American Jewish History, among other journals in her field. Sinkoff has presented work at national conferences of the Association for Jewish Studies, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, as well as the American Jewish Historical Society, among other venues. She has lectured widely, both domestically and internationally, including at Yarnton Manor (Oxford), the Hebrew University (Jerusalem), and the International Cultural Center (Cracow).

Beyond her activities within the scholarly sphere, Sinkoff has long devoted herself to bringing ideas and information to the public. She became engaged with public history first as a researcher for WNET-Channel 13's series "Civilization and the Jews" and for the Lower East Side Historic Conservancy, preparing sites for a historical walking tour. Sinkoff's work has been featured on radio, including "Beyond the Pale: The Progressive Jewish Radio Hour," WBAI New York and "Shalom USA," and "Benjamin Franklin's Influence on Mussar," AM-WVIE Baltimore. Sinkoff has been a consultant for the eighteenth-century gallery of the Museum of the History of the Jews of Poland, Warsaw, which will open formally in fall 2014. At Rutgers, she has worked closely with the Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, suggesting topics for public programs, including inviting Dara Horn, a New Jersey author, to campus, and actively consulting for the Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival. Most recently, Sinkoff introduced "Hannah Arendt" and "Ahead of Time" and moderated audience participation. Committed to disseminating historical knowledge to the widest possible audience, Sinkoff has published in the magazine, Heritage, of the American Jewish Historical Society and entered the blogosphere with a post, "What's a Friend to Do?" Review of "Hannah Arendt," for Lilith Magazine. She is a regular faculty member for ConText, an adult education program surveying Jewish history and has also given public lectures at the Center for Jewish History, the YIVO institute, and at synagogues and JCCs in the tri-state area. "Sara Levy's World" allows Sinkoff to share her commitment to making Jewish history accessible to a wide audience and to affirm the vital role that the humanities play in our contemporary world.

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