Golden Ages

A unique insight into the musicality of the Orthodox Hasidic community in Brooklyn, followed by a salon talk

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Villa Seligmann cordially invites you to the concert “Golden Age” followed by a salon talk.


Golden Age: The Renewal of Cantorial Music in Hasidic Brooklyn

In today’s Brooklyn, there’s a remarkable music revival bubbling away in secret from the eyes of most music fans. It is located in communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, and its key players are young Chassidic singers. In the ultra-Orthodox community, older forms of Jewish music have largely been displaced by pop-music that sounds a lot like what you would hear on the mainstream radio, but with pious lyrics in Yiddish or prayer book Hebrew. A small but vibrant group of young singers have taken up the style of pre-World War Two cantorial music as their art form of choice, performing tracks recorded a century ago. While some of these singers grew up in families with older cantors from whom they could learn, other artists only discovered this music through old records. In an environment that may seem to outsiders like a discouragement to self-expression, these artists delve into the past to find their own expressive style.

In a unique concert, stars of the cantorial revival Yanky Lemmer, Shimmy Miller and Yoel Kohn offer a concert of classic cantorial recitatives, collaborating with producer and arranger Jeremiah Lockwood and a local string quartet.

The concert gives an extraordinary insight into the musicality of the orthodox Hasidic community in Brooklyn. It is also our program kick-off for Purim, which begins on the evening of March 23.

Salon talk

“The world of Chasidic music from an ethnomusicological perspective” – a salon talk with the authors Jeremiah Lockwood and Jessica Roda

Join us after the concert for a conversation with authors Jeremiah Lockwood and Jessica Roda on the occasion of the publication of their new books: Golden Ages: Hasidic Singers and Cantorial Revival in the Digital Era (Lockwood/UCPress) and For Women and Girls Only: Reshaping Jewish Orthodoxy Through the Arts in the Digital Age (Roda/NYU Press). Through ethnography and media analysis, Lockwood and Roda offer unique insights into the vibrant male and female art world of Hasidic and Lithuanian Jewish Jews today. They lead us to rethink the power of art in order to understand agency, privacy and publicity in religious contexts. You are cordially invited to talk to both authors directly.

Foto J. Lockwood

Jeremiah Lockwood( is a scholar and musician, working in the fields of Jewish studies, performance studies, and ethnomusicology. He is currently a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Both his musical performances and his scholarly work focus on Jewish liturgical music and Yiddish expressive culture of the early 20th century and the reverberations of this cultural moment in today’s communities. Lockwood’s research focuses on the work of cantors as agents of social, intellectual and aesthetic change in times of crisis and cultural transformation. Jeremiah Lockwood received his doctorate from Stanford University in 2021. From 2022 to 2023, he was a fellow at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where he researched the phenomenon of female cantors of the gramophone era and composed a new piece of music that responds to this fertile moment in Jewish music history. Jeremiah has recorded more than a dozen albums with his band The Sway Machinery and other projects over the course of his decade-long music career.

Foto_Jessica Roda

Jessica Roda ( is Assistant Professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist trained in Europe and North America whose research interests include music, religion, cultural heritage, gender and media. For research on her new book For Women and Girls Only. Reshaping Jewish Orthodoxy Through the Arts in the Digital Age (New York University Press, 2024), she was honored with the AJS Women’s Caucus Cashmere Award (2021) and the Hadassah Brandeis Institute Research Award (2021). Since fall 2023, she has been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (University of Pennsylvania), where she is working on her new project on music, healing and spirituality in ultra-orthodox Jewish circles. Roda has been a visiting scholar at various universities in North and South America as well as in Europe. She is president-elect of the Canadian Association for Traditional Music and co-chair of the Special Interest Group for Jewish Music of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

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