‘Far from Home, an Exile Roving’: Harriett Abrams, Jewish Composer in Georgian England
The Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies and the Department of Music in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design are proud to present musicologist and historical keyboardist Rebecca Cypess (Rutgers University) and mezzo-soprano Alta Boover Dantzler (Oakland University) in Far from Home, an Exile Roving: Harriett Abrams, Jewish Composer in Georgian England. This special concert presents songs by the composer and singer Harriett Abrams (c. 1762-1821) alongside works by George Frideric Handel and Franz Joseph Haydn. Spoken commentary will explore Abrams’ Jewish heritage and her place in the history of Jews and Jewish musicians in late 18th- and early 19th-century London.
Musicologist and historical keyboardist Rebecca Cypess is professor of music and associate dean of academic affairs at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She is the founding director of the Raritan Players, a period-instrument ensemble dedicated to exploring untold stories and lost performance practices from the musical past. The group’s three recordings – In Sara Levy’s Salon (2017), Sisters, Face to Face: the Bach Legacy in Women’s Hands (2019) and In the Salon of Madame Brillon: Music and Friendship in Benjamin Franklin’s Paris (2021) – have been praised as “simply mesmerizing” (Early Music America), “enchanting” (Classics Today), “an unexpected treasure” (American Record Guide) and “as ravishing as it is fascinating” (Classical Music). As a musicologist, Cypess’s publications include Curious and Modern Inventions: Instrumental Music as Discovery in Galileo’s Italy (2016) and Women and Musical Salons in the Enlightenment (2022). She has been the recipient of two national awards from the American Musicological Society: the Ruth A. Solie Award for a collection of musicological essays of exceptional merit for Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy: New Perspectives (2022) and the Noah Greenberg Award for contributions to historical performance.
Alta Boover Dantzler is a passionate educator and an active performer of opera and concert works. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall as a soloist with the New York City Chamber Orchestra in Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, and at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as the Narrator in Peter and the Wolf as well as Mrs. Barnaby in the premiere of a new version of Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland. Internationally, she was an invited speaker on American Operetta in Vienna, Austria, and will present on Vocal Health for Educators in Tokyo, Japan in March. She performs regularly as a concert soloist with symphony orchestras across the country. Boover is an associate professor of voice at Oakland University, where she has taught since 2010. She holds degrees from Skidmore College, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. Her albums can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you purchase or stream music. For more information about her, visit AltaBoover.com.
The Sound and Sense: Jewish Music @York series is supported by the Azrieli Foundation.