Sketch of Anthony Russell trio in action (playing music and singing)

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 come together to shape Russell’s unique genre of Jewish musicality.

Seating is limited, so reserve your spot for this in-person event today! While the performances won’t be live-streamed, you can still receive a recording if you choose “No, I will not be attending in person; please email me the recording after the event” on the registration page.

Lecture 1. Signs and Wonders: A Melodeklamatsiye

Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 7:00 — 9:30 p.m. — Kane Hall 220 & Walker-Ames Room

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

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.

Register for the 2023 Stroum Lectures >

Since seating is limited, we highly encourage registering as soon as possible. 

About the musicians

Portrait of Anthony Mordechai Tzvi RussellAnthony 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.
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.

Portrait of Dmitri Gaskin smilingDmitri 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.