The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire

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Drawing on a mass of unpublished writings and archival sources from prerevolutionary Russian conservatories, this book offers an insightful account of the Jewish search for a modern identity in Russia through music, rather than politics or religion.

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Editorial Reviews

The Forward - Benjamin Ivry

“Lively and informed.”—Benjamin Ivry, The Forward
Tablet Magazine - Adam Kirsch

"Excellent."—Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine

ARC Ensemble website - Simon Wynberg

"Fascinating. . . deserves a readership well beyond the scholarly or musicological."—Simon Wynberg, ARC Ensemble - Ellen Schiff

"A significant contribution to cultural history. . . beautifully written. . . a pleasure to read."—Ellen Schiff,
The Russian Review - Alexander Orbach

"James Loeffler's stimulating and provocative study contributes creatively to a number of scholarly streams of inquiry."—Alexander Orbach, The Russian Review
Slavic Review - Klara Moricz

". . . meticulously researched study . . . [a] compelling historical narrative."—Klara Moricz, Slavic Review
Jewish Book Council - Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

Finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Book Prize for Jewish Literature, as given by the Jewish Book Council.
Choice - Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Music category.

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) - B�la Bart�k Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book

Won the Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book sponsored by ASCAP
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) - Bela Bartok Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book
Won the Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book sponsored by ASCAP
Association for Jewish Studies - Jordan Schnitzer

Honorable Mention from the Association for Jewish Studies, Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Cultural Studies and Media Studies.
Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation - Historia Nova Prize

Long-listed for the 2012 Historia Nova Prize for the Best Book on Russian Intellectual History sponsored by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation and Academic Studies Press.
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) - Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book

Won the Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicological Book sponsored by ASCAP
Mark Slobin

“With this solid, savvy, and satisfying book, Loeffler advances Jewish studies, music history, and Russian studies by shedding new light on the stage of a twentieth-century social and musical drama.”—Mark Slobin, author of Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World
Ezra Mendelsohn

“The Jews’ remarkable place in the modern history of music – classical, popular and folk – is well known, but rarely subjected to serious analysis. Loeffler’s sophisticated and deeply researched book casts new light both on the Jewish contribution to music in general and to the emergence of specifically ‘Jewish music’ in the Russian Empire, home to the largest and most vital Jewish community in the world."—Ezra Mendelsohn, The Hebrew University
Leon Botstein

“James Loeffler’s new book is both fascinating and pathbreaking. This important and original contribution to scholarship must be read by students of music, Russian culture, and Jewish history.”—Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, and Music Director and Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300137132
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/13/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

James Loeffler is associate professor of history at the University of Virginia.
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