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Performing Arts: Music

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Lina Abarbanell

Lina Abarbanell

Abarbanell’s success lay in lighter musical fare and operetta. Composers such as Oscar Straus, Franz Lehár, and Edmund Eysler wrote for her expressive soubrette voice. She made about twenty recordings in 1903 and 1904, only four of which appear to have survived. In 1905, Heinrich Conried, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, invited her to sing the role of Hänsel and to perform at his Irving Place Theater, where she delighted his German-speaking audiences.

Chava Alberstein, 2007

Chava Alberstein

Chava Alberstein is a singer-songwriter (both lyricist and composer) who by the end of 2004 had recorded over fifty albums, not including singles and song collections.

Chaya Arbel

Chaya Arbel

A woman and a kibbutznik, Chaya Arbel embodied two under-represented sectors on the Israeli musical composition scene.

Esther Abrahams

Australia: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.

bELLE bAKER

Belle Baker

Belle Baker has been described as a famed torch singer and vaudeville star, as well as a Yiddish, Broadway, and motion picture actor.

Zsófia Balla

Zsófia Balla

Born in Romania to Hungarian parents, Zsófia Balla has lived in Hungary since 1993. While in the land of her birth her work was often subject to censorship, she is considered one of her adopted nation's greatest women poets.

Astrith Baltsan

Astrith Baltsan

“Astrith Baltsan is an incomparable phenomenon on the musical scene in Israel,” wrote the judges who awarded her the Tel Aviv Municipality 2001 Rosenblum Prize for the Stage Arts. Her original lecture-concert series—multimedia events—became the largest classical chamber music series in Israel, attracting thousands of individuals to attend their first non-symphonic concerts.

Barbara (Monique Andree Serf), 1965

Barbara (Monique Andree Serf)

Under her simple stage name “Barbara,” Monique Andrée Serf (b. Paris June 9, 1930, d. Neuilly-sur-Seine November 24–25, 1997) was an immensely popular French singer and composer in the cabaret style.

"If I Embarrass You Tell Your Friends" Cover by Belle Barth

Belle Barth

Singing her way through popular standards and performing imitations of Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Harry Richman, and Gypsy Rose Lee kept Barth employed on the vaudeville circuit through the 1930s and 1940s. The character of her act changed in the 1950s, when she began to mix her two talents—music and comedy—and added a splash of “red hot mama” for good measure.

Michal Bat-Adam

Michal Bat-Adam

Winner of several Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress awards from the Israel Institute of Cinema, the multi-talented Michal Bat Adam was the first Israeli woman to direct a feature film.

Ora Bat Chaim

Ora Bat Chaim

Ora Bat Chaim, who began a new phase of life as a serious composer at the age of fifty-eight, went on to create over four hundred musical compositions.

Marion Eugénie Bauer

An energetic champion of contemporary music, Marion Eugénie Bauer’s work as a writer, teacher, and music advocate augments—perhaps even overshadows—her importance as a composer. Like many women composers of her generation, she focused her initial compositional activity on songs and piano solos.

Nora Bayes and her Children Aboard the S.S. Leviathan, 1924

Nora Bayes

Nora Bayes was an international singing star in vaudeville and musical comedy during the first twenty-five years of the twentieth century. Known as a willful and temperamental star, Bayes relied on her own charisma and popularity as she resisted managerial control and ignored the details of legal contracts.

Jeanne Behrend

Jeanne Behrend

In 1936, Jeanne Behrend, renowned pianist, music educator, and composer, received the Joseph Bearns Prize from Columbia University for her piano suite A Child’s Day, and for her song cycle on poems by Sara Teasdale. Behrend debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1937, performing one of her own compositions. She continued throughout her life to appear as a soloist with major orchestras. Although Behrend wrote many works for piano, voice, orchestra, and chamber ensemble, her creative efforts received little of the recognition she had hoped for, and she stopped composing in the 1940s.

"La Kahéna, Reine Barbare" Front Cover by Berthe Bénichou-Aboulker

Berthe Bénichou-Aboulker

Berthe Bénichou-Aboulker was the first woman writer to have her work published in her country of birth, Algeria, whose generous land and mixed population she praised in Pays de flamme (Land of Flame).

Yara Bernette (Bernette Epstein)

Yara Bernette

In addition to being a concert pianist in demand throughout the world, Yara Bernette was also a teacher.

"The Bach Festival Murders" Front Cover by Blanche Bloch

Blanche Bloch

Blanche Bloch was a pioneer on behalf of women in music. Her efforts date back to the early 1930s when she was a founding member of the New York Women’s Orchestra.

Sophie Braslau

Sophie Braslau

Sophie Braslau was a leading contralto who debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York at age eleven.

Yara Bernette (Bernette Epstein)

Brazil, Contemporary

The Brazilian Jewish community is the second largest Jewish community in South America and one of the ten largest in the world.

Claire Brook

Claire Brook is a writer, editor, and composer whose career is most distinguished by her work in publishing.

Tullia Calabi-Zevi

Over the years, she became a journalist of international renown, writing for several leading newspapers in Italy and elsewhere, including Ma’ariv, Espresso, The Jewish Chronicle, The Religious News Service, Voce Repubblicana and others. Over the years, she became increasingly involved in Italian political and intellectual life, especially among the country’s Jews.

Cantor Betty Robbins

Cantors: American Jewish Women

Though debate continues regarding the female cantorial profession, women’s voices increasingly come forth from pulpits in America, leading congregations in all the year-round calendar and life-cycle observances of the Jewish faith.

Cochin: Jewish Women's Music

For many centuries, Cochin Jewish women have been singing Jewish songs, both in Hebrew and in the Malayalam language of Kerala, their ancient homeland on the tropical southwest coast of India.

Betty Comden

Betty Comden

Beginning with On the Town (1944) and continuing with The Will Rogers Follies (1991), Betty Comden’s long career as librettist and lyricist for Broadway and Hollywood has included many classics of American musical comedy. With her partner Adolph Green, Comden has written lyrics and/or librettos for such hits of stage and screen as The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Wonderful Town (1953), The Band Wagon (1953), Peter Pan (1953), Bells Are Ringing (1956), the film version of Auntie Mame (1958), Say Darling (1958), Applause (1970), and On the Twentieth Century (1978).

Shoshana Damari

Shoshana Damari

Shoshana Damari was born in 1923 in the city of Dhamar, Yemen. With the outbreak of anti-Jewish persecution in Yemen in 1924, the family set out on foot for the Land of Israel. Reaching the port of Aden, they continued by ship to Palestine and settled in Rishon le-Zion, where Damari’s father found work as a teacher at a local Lit. "study of Torah," but also the name for organizations that established religious schools, and later the specific school systems themselves, including the network of afternoon Hebrew schools in early 20th c. U.S.talmud Torah.

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