Performing Yiddish music in post-war Germany and Austria comes with a set of expectations and assumptions about Jewish culture. In this lecture-concert, Yiddish musicians and researchers Isabel Frey and Benjy Fox-Rosen confront these expectations, challenging the so-called “Theater of Memory” where Jewish roles are limited and often instrumentalized to fit into the broader dominant cultural narrative.
The evening’s musical journey begins with nostalgic Yiddish songs before moving to unaccompanied folk songs collected through ethnographic fieldwork. It continues with partisan and resistance songs from the Holocaust and concludes with new Yiddish music by the artists themselves. Through musical performance, dialogue, and short essayistic fragments, Frey and Fox-Rosen reflect on the myth of the shtetl, the ruptures and continuities of oral transmission, the weight of Holocaust memory culture and their own attempts to creatively deal with the expectations inherent to performing Jewish music in the German-speaking world.
Join YIVO for this performance followed by a Q&A with performers Isabel Frey and Benjy Fox-Rosen moderated by Samantha Cooper and Gordon Dale.
In person: $15; YIVO members & students: $10
Zoom Livestream: $5
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.