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In Celebration of Jewish High Holy Days, the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music Launches CD Series on Naxos American Classics
September 23, 2003

The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music will debut in celebration of the Jewish High Holy Days on Tuesday, Sept. 23, when the first five of 50 CDs are released by Naxos American Classics. There are six hundred newly recorded works, including 500 world premiere recordings by 200 American Composers that reflect American Jewish experience over three centuries. Created in 1990 by Milken Family Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken, the Milken Archive explores the vast panorama of sacred and secular works reflecting three centuries of Jewish life in America. From symphonies to synagogue services, Yiddish theater to opera, and chamber works to cantorial masterpieces, the universal appeal of great music and virtuoso performances are intended to touch people of all faiths and cultures, while providing Jews with another link to their heritage.

Internationally prominent artists such as jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, violinist Elmar Oliveira, folk legend Pete Seeger and clarinetist David Krakauer, together with ensembles including the Vienna Boys Choir, Sir Neville Marriner with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Seattle Symphony and Czech Philharmonic have recorded works by more than 200 immigrant or native-born American composers like Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Philip Glass. Others reflect the musical fruits of individuals less familiar, yet no less capable of making significant contributions to the genre of American Jewish Music.

The Sept. 23 launch releases include:

-- Kurt Weill: The Eternal Road (Highlights), the world premiere recording of any complete scenes from this epic work;

-- Klezmer Concertos and Encores, by 20th-century composers including Robert Starer and Paul Schoenfield;

-- Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Naomi and Ruth cantata and Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve;

-- Great Songs of the Yiddish Stage, Volume I, featuring songwriter Abraham Ellstein; and

-- Introducing the World of American Jewish Music sampler CD.

By the end of 2005, Naxos American Classics will release 50 CDs reflecting the Milken Archive's breadth. From non-Jewish composer Dave Brubeck's cantata The Gates of Justice, exploring experiences of Jewish- and African-Americans, to a colonial Shabbat service, to the reconstructed Genesis Suite by seven 20th-century masters including Schoenberg and Stravinsky, these discs will provide people the world over with a rich abundance of new, largely unexplored music.

"The sacred and secular body of music that has developed since Jews first arrived on these shores provides a powerful means of expressing the multilayered saga of American Jewry," said Lowell Milken. "We launched the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music with the goal to rediscover, preserve and transmit the collective memory contained within this music. It is a living project, one that we hope will cultivate and nourish musicians and enthusiasts of this richly varied genre for generations to come."

Proceeds from the sale of Milken Archive recordings will be directed back to the Archive's nonprofit educational programs. And as the largest collection of American Jewish music ever assembled, the Milken Archive's scope will also encompass an oral history video collection, a full curriculum, and an eventual 20-volume World of American Jewish Music designed for libraries, museums, synagogues and aficionados.

To explore the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, visit .


Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group