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Jonas Westover

(b Kitzingen, Bavaria, Germany, Feb 23, 1905; d Brookline, MA, March 10, 1995). Composer, organist, conductor, and writer on music, of German birth. After attending the State Academy of Music in Munich, Germany (1925–9), he worked as a conductor in both Bielefeld and Würzburg in the early 1930s. Because his Jewish background prevented him from holding a state position under the Nazis, he became enmeshed in Jewish musical life in Frankfurt, where he was a member of the Jüdischer Kulturbund and a musician for the West End Synagogue. He immigrated to the United States in 1937 and took up a position as organist for Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, New York, until 1941. Between 1940 and 1941 he studied with paul Hindemith , and was influenced to adopt modernist techniques in setting Jewish subjects and texts. He moved to Boston, where he worked at Temple Israel from ...

Article

Catherine Wojtanowski

(b Sarajevo, Yugoslavia [now Bosnia and Herzegovina], 1925). American singer and guitarist. Growing up in a Sephardic Jewish community, she learned Balkan folklore as well as traditional songs in the Ladino language with guidance from her grandmother. In 1946 she married a serviceman and immigrated to the United States, where she has become known as the Flame of Sephardic Music because of the strength of her commitment to this unique musical heritage. In addition to transcribing, performing, and teaching traditional Ladino material, Jagoda has composed and arranged new Sephardic songs. She also has performed material drawn from biblical verses, poems, and prayers. She has recorded several albums, which often recall her early experiences, including Memories of Sarajevo (1996) and Kantikas di mi Nona (Songs of my Grandmother) (1996). She also published The Flory Jagoda Songbook: Memories of Sarajevo (1996), which includes songs and stories about her family history. She is featured in the documentary ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Josef ]

(b Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, May 9, 1882; d Jerusalem, June 19, 1933). Cantor of Ukrainian birth. Regarded by many to be the greatest cantor (hazzan) of his time, he had a remarkable high tenor voice that soared across a wide range and possessed a unique beauty; his perfect pitch, accuracy, and rich falsetto enhanced his reputation. He was born into a large family and was expected to follow in the footsteps of his cantor father. He was a child prodigy, who sang with his father on tours of synagogues. Despite having no formal training, he also began to compose music, focusing on cantorial campositions. In 1912 he immigrated to the United States and became a cantor at the First Hungarian Congregation Ohab Zedek, a synagogue in New York. He recorded extensively, often as Josef Rosenblatt, which led to stardom in both Jewish and gentile circles. His concerts at the Hippodrome (...

Article

Margaret Cayward

[Miguel José ]

(b Petra, Majorca, Spain, Nov 24, 1713; d Mission San Carlos Borromeo, Alta California [now in Carmel, CA], Aug 28, 1784). Spanish Franciscan friar and founder of the Alta California missions. Baptized Miguel José, upon joining the Franciscan order at age 17 he took the name of Junípero, after a companion of St. Francis. In 1742 Serra obtained a doctorate in theology at the Lullian University in Palma de Mallorca, where he was a professor of theology. Known as a forceful and zealous preacher with a resonant voice, in 1749 Serra sailed for New Spain to become a missionary. He served in the missions in the Sierra Gorda from 1750 to 1758, and the missions he administered there prospered. In order to better serve the indigenous population he served there, he learned the Otomí language. In 1758 Serra was recalled to the San Fernando College in Mexico City, where he remained until ...