Edwin Seroussi is the Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre since 2000. --------------- Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Prof. Seroussi immigrated to Israel in 1971 where he studied at the Department of Musicology at the undergraduate and graduate levels continuing into his doctoral studies at the University of California Los Angeles (1981-1987). As a faculty member of the Department of Musicology at The Hebrew University, he teaches ethnomusicology, world music, theory and methodology in the study of oral traditions and popular music. His research focuses on the sacred and secular musical cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, interactions between Jewish and Islamic cultures (specifically in art music genres), Judeo-Spanish song and popular music in Israel. Within these subjects he explores process of hybridization, diaspora, nationalism and transnationalism in specific contexts such as the Ottoman Empire, and the constitution of Jewish identities through music making in settings as diverse as colonial Morocco and Algeria, Germany’s Second Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the early Zionist settlement in Palestine and the Judeo-Spanish speaking diaspora. His approach to research stresses the agency of individuals in the shaping of folk and popular culture, social networks and the role of reception and consumption in the making of musical cultures. He has published extensively on these topics. In addition, he founded and edits Yuval Music Series and is editor of the acclaimed CD series Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel. --------------- He has previously taught at the Department of Music of Bar Ilan University (1987-2000) and chaired it (1996-2000), chaired the Department of Musicology at Hebrew University (2004-2008; 2014-2016; 2019-2020) and established and directed the new School of the Arts at the Hebrew University (2008-2013). He has been a visiting professor at several institutions in the USA, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Since 2008 he is a Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College. --------------- Besides his academic activities he is active in the music scene of Israel and abroad in diverse capacities, such as consultant for music festivals, member of state committees related to music and the arts and producer of music programs. Formerly he represented Israel at the International Music Council of UNESCO. For his contributions to the musical life of Israel and to the research of Jewish and Israeli music he was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for 2018, the Yoel Engel Prize by the city of Tel Aviv (2017), and the Maurice Toledano Prize for research on Sephardic culture (2009).
Rabbi Israel Najara (c. 1550-1625), a unique figure in the history of the piyyut (religious poetry) was active in Safed, Damascus and Gaza. His poems, set to music since they were conceived, are assiduously sang to these days in synagogues and Jewish homes. This attraction of modern audiences to his songs will serve as a point of departure of a journey into one of the most intriguing Ottoman Jewish artists of the early modern period.