STROUM LECTURES 2023 | The Sound of a World Within Worlds: Words, Music, Yiddish, and Culture
For this year’s Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies, Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, a classically trained and internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer and arranger specializing in music in the Yiddish language, will perform with accompanist Dmitri Gaskin. Through oration and art music, they will take us on a melodic journey through a variety of elements that come together to shape Russell’s unique genre of Jewish musicality.
Lecture 1. Signs and Wonders: A Melodeklamatsiye
Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 7:00 — 9:30 p.m. — Kane Hall 220 & Walker-Ames Room
View the lecture recording:
Description. Drawing on melodeclamation (a 19th-century performance genre combining oration and art music) vocalist, composer and writer Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell will investigate disparate elements—Black religiosity, the music of Chopin, queerness, the ambiguities of diaspora—through the mediums of Jewishness and sound in his performance of Signs & Wonders: A Melodeklamatsiye, in collaboration with Dmitri Gaskin on piano and accordion. The performance will be followed by an interview with Sasha Senderovich, Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.
Following the performance, Sasha Senderovich, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Slavic Languages and Literatures, will moderate a Q&A session with the audience. The night will conclude with a reception in Kane Hall’s Walker-Ames room, with Kosher (dairy) bites from Leah’s Catering.
Lecture 2. Between Me and the Other World: A Tikkun
Thursday, May 4, 2023, 7:00 — 8:30 p.m. — Walker-Ames Room, Kane Hall
View the lecture recording:
Description. Animated by the writings of African American sociologist and historian W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) and British Jewish author Israel Zangwill (1864-1926), Between Me and the Other World is an immersive musical collaboration between Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell and accordionist Dmitri Gaskin that explores W.E.B. DuBois’ provocative question, “How does it feel to be a problem?” refracted through the texts and musical idioms of the African American South and Jewish Eastern Europe.
Following the performance, Barbara Henry, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, will moderate a Q&A session with the audience.
Presented by the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.
Supported by Sam and Althea Stroum.
Co-sponsored by the German Department, UW School of Music, and the History Department.
About the musicians
Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell is a performer, composer and arranger specializing in music in the Yiddish language. His work in traditional Ashkenazi Jewish musical forms led to a musical exploration of his own ethnic roots through the research, arrangement and performance of African American folk music, resulting in the EP Convergence (2018), a collaboration with klezmer consort Veretski Pass exploring the sounds and themes of one hundred years of African American and Ashkenazi Jewish music.
Inspired by an ethnographic trip to Belarus and Poland as a Wallis Annenberg Helix Fellow, Anthony formed a duo, Tsvey Brider (“Two Brothers”), with accordionist and pianist Dmitri Gaskin for the creation of new music set to modernist Yiddish poetry of the 20th century. Their new album, Kosmopolitn, is set for release this August on the Borscht Beat label.
A Hadar Rising Song Fellow (2021-22), Anthony is also an essayist on music and culture in a number of publications including Jewish Currents and Moment Magazine. Anthony lives in Atlanta, GA with his husband of seven years, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum.
Dmitri Gaskin is an accomplished accordion player, composer, and arranger specializing in Klezmer and Romanian folk music. He performs with several Klezmer bands throughout California, most notably with Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band. Dmitri has also performed and taught at several music festivals, including KlezKalifornia.
Outside of klezmer music, Dmitri won the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for a contemporary classical composition. He also formed Harmonikos, a performing collective of young composers and musicians.
Dmitri studied accordion with Josh Horowitz and Alan Bern. He lives in California with his wife and their three accordions.
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