Israeli Musical Legends Headline University of Virginia Conference

March 19, 2008

March 19, 2008 —  As the state of Israel marks its 60th anniversary in 2008, the University of Virginia Jewish Studies Program will host a conference exploring the music of Israel.

Complementing scholarly discussion of Israeli music as a window into national identity, politics, religion and culture, the conference will also feature April 13 performances of Israeli popular, folk and religious music by musical legends Etti Ankri and Moussa Berlin, as well as cellist Uri Vardi and the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra performing works by Osvaldo Golijov, Ernest Bloch and Hector Berlioz.

All events of the conference, titled "Hearing Israel: Music, Culture and History at 60," are open to the public. Academic sessions, to be held April 13 and 14 at U.Va.'s Darden School of Business, are free. Concert tickets cost $15 to $28 for the symphony performance in Old Cabell Hall on April 13 at 3:30 p.m., and $10 for the 8 p.m. concert at Darden's Abbot Auditorium featuring the Etti Ankri Band and the Moussa Berlin Ensemble. To order, call the Cabell Hall Box Office at (434) 924-3984.

At the age of 70, Berlin is one of the world's leading klezmer musicians (along with U.Va.'s Joel Rubin, assistant professor and director of music performance).

Ankri has been one of Israel's most famous singer-songwriters and actresses since 1990, when her debut CD, "I Can See In Your Eyes," went double platinum. She has performed around the world and has been called a "rock genius," a "poet of Israeli spirituality" and "the contemporary voice of Israel." Her songs, spanning eight albums, feature social commentary, feminist perspectives and religious and kabalistic imagery. Ankri has also acted in a number of Israeli and American movies, including "Deadline" (1987) with Christopher Walken.

The academic sessions will discuss many aspects of (and influences on) Israeli music, including the aggressive hip-hop of Palestinian identity, the influence of Arabic music, postmodernism, electric guitars, themes of diaspora and homeland, and "Cochini" women's songs in Israel and India.

A full conference schedule and details are available online at

The Hearing Israel Conference is supported by the University of Virginia Jewish Studies Program, the Gunst Family Foundation, the Posen Foundation, the McIntire Department of Music, the Corcoran Department of History, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, the Middle Eastern Studies program, the University of Virginia Hillel and the Cultural Affairs Department of the Embassy of Israel.