Refuge: Art Songs by Jewish American Refugee Composers


Refuge: Art Songs by Jewish American Refugee Composers
Performed by Cantor David Berger and Pianist Joyce Rosenzweig.

America has been a unique place of refuge and safety for Jews from around the world for hundreds of years. It has not always been the perfect “Goldene Medine” (Golden Land) of immigrant lore. But, in no other place in history have Jewish communities been able to thrive as they have in the United States. An immigrant people in an immigrant land, most American-Jewish families can trace their ancestors’ arrivals at Ellis Island or other ports of entry to the early 20th century.

Some came to America optimistically seeking opportunity. Many others came while fleeing anti-Semitism and oppression in their former homes. All of them, together, built new lives for themselves and their families in America, and made incredible contributions to the vision of America that we celebrate today. Within those “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” were artists, musicians, intellectuals, and innovators who gave their heart and soul to their newly adopted country. Refuge is dedicated to all of them.

Each of the composers whose music we have included in this CD came to the United States as refugees fleeing anti-Semitism. In America they found refuge. Their contributions to American-Jewish music (and American music more generally) are manifold. For most of the pieces presented here, this is the first recording, and it is our honor to make them available to you now. These songs deserve to be heard and to take their rightful place in the canon of American Art Song. They represent a vital part of the story of American-Jewish music. They give testimony to the spirit and creativity of the refugee composers who crafted them.


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