SOAS University of London

Chinese Jews, aspects of their history and their music

Chinese Jews, aspects of their history and their music
Dr Alex Knapp

Date: 6 February 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 6 February 2014Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Jewish Music Institute

Type of Event: Lecture

Dr Alexander Knapp was the first to hold the post of Joe Loss Lecturer at City University (1992-1999) and at SOAS (1999-2006). A  recognised academic composer and pianist, he has lectured for over 40 years on the subject of Jewish Music.

Whereas the social, cultural, religious and musical history of ethnically European Jewish immigrants and refugees living in China during the 19th and 20th centuries has been covered in some detail by both Chinese and Western commentators, the music of the ethnically Chinese Jews (Yóu Tài Rén) remains among the few remaining enigmas in the field of Jewish ethnomusicology. In this lecture Dr Knapp’s will offer as comprehensive an overview as possible of all the relevant sources of information available, with special reference to the vocal and instrumental practices associated with the synagogue in the city of Kaifeng in Henan Province – one-time capital of China, and centre of Jewish life for many centuries. In addition to written documents, he will share some of the fascinating insights gained through his research and meetings with Chinese academics and informants during four visits to China (1993, 1994, 1996 and 2010), primarily in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Kaifeng. The lecture will begin with a brief historical and geographical description of Jewish entry into China. Contemporary accounts of everyday life in Kaifeng in the 12th century then lead to more detailed observations about the religious life of the Jews, with the aid of visual illustrations. This talk concludes with an assessment of the present-day situation in Kaifeng, the Central Asian connection and the potential for new discoveries.

Chinese Jews, aspects of their history and their music

THIS IS A FREE EVENT but you need to register for the event. (please print tickets and bring along as there is limited capacity)