David Conway analyses why and how Jews, virtually absent from Western art music until the end of the eighteenth century, came to be represented in all branches of the profession within fifty years as leading figures - not only as composers and performers, but as publishers, impresarios and critics. His study places this process in the context of dynamic economic, political, sociological and technological changes and also of developments in Jewish communities and the Jewish religion itself, in the major cultural centres of Western Europe. Beginning with a review of attitudes to Jews in the arts and an assessment of Jewish music and musical skills, in the age of the Enlightenment, Conway traces the story of growing Jewish involvement with music through the biographies of the famous, the neglected and the forgotten, leading to a radical contextualisation of Wagner's infamous 'Judaism in Music'.
David Conway is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London. He has published articles in Slavonic and East European Studies, European Judaism and Jewish Historical Studies and is a contributor to The Wagner Journal. He is the founder and director of the international music festival 'Levocske babie leto' (Indian Summer in Levoca), Slovakia.
1. 'Whatever the reasons'; 2. 'Eppes Rores - can a Jew be an artist?; 3. In the midst of many people: musical Europe: The Netherlands, England, Austria, Germany, France; 4. Jewry in music; Bibliography.