Skip to main content

Drawn to Paradise - Jewish Musicians in Los Angeles

Matthew Vest

Matthew Vest's picture
Matthew Vest
Subjects:Music & Dance

Let us know what you think!

guestbook icon

Exterior title

Exterior Exhibition Title

exhibit corridor

Exhibition Corridor 

Exhibition Introduction

Drawn to Paradise - Jewish Musicians in Los Angeles

Since antiquity, Jewish people have been driven from their ancestral homeland or drawn to other geographic regions, either by choice or out of necessity. The Jewish diaspora refers to the global dispersion of Jewish people and the impact they have in their new communities. Throughout the twentieth century, many settled in the burgeoning city of Los Angeles, which now holds the fourth-largest Jewish population in the world. Drawn to Paradise highlights prominent and little-known Jewish musicians who made important contributions to musical and cultural life in Los Angeles.

The exhibition includes materials from the UCLA Music Library, Library Special Collections, Young Research Library, Biomedical Library, and the Southern Regional Library Facility. The exhibit highlights prominent and little-known Jewish musicians who made important contributions to musical and cultural life in Los Angeles. The opening  of the physical exhibit coincided with the UCLA American Jewish Music Festival events that took place in the Music Library on March 1st. Please excuse the quality of some of the included images, which were taken hastily in the transition to remote library services because of Covid-19. 

Drawn to Paradise was curated by Chantel Diaz and Matthew Vest and designed by Vest, with additional research by Alexander Hallenbeck. This virtual exhibit was designed by Vest. Katherine Kapsidelis and Hannah Sutherland managed installation, Doug Daniels printed graphics, and Chris Brennan and Alan Lee handled graphic installation. Peggy Alexander, Molly Hemphill and Jet Jacobs consulted for Special Collections materials and Molly Haigh managed Special Collections duplication.

Exhibition, left

Exhibition, Left 

undefined

undefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: Liebes Schmertzen by Joseph Rumshinsky

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefinedundefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: I'm a Yiddish Cowboy by Leslie Mohr and Piantadosi

undefined

undefined

undefined

Fanny Brice

Fanny Brice, UCLA Library Special Collections, Collection PASC 85

Fania Borach, known as Fanny Brice, was the child of Jewish immigrants who settled on New York's Lower East Side. She performed on stage with the Transatlantic Burlesquers, the Ziegfeld Follies and on film and radio. She created and starred in the hit  radio comedy series The Baby Snooks Show. Barbra Streisand portrayed her in the musical Funny Girl

undefinedundefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: Little Sharon Goldfarb by Robert Maxwell

undefined

undefined

Alfred Leonard

Alfred Leonard, UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections, Collection 180

Alfred Levi changed his name to Leonard after immigrating to the United States from Germany in 1933. He was the director of symphonic programs on local radio station KFAC, a radio host for The Golden Hour in 1935, the owner of a Los Angeles music store, and the founder and director of the Los Angeles Music Guild in 1944. 

undefinedundefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: The Dishwasher by Herman Yablokoff

undefined

undefinedundefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

undefined

 

 

 

undefined

undefined

Exhibition, Right

Feri Roth

Feri Roth with Roy Harris, left, UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections, Collection 197

Born in Zvolen, Czechoslovakia, Feri Roth graduated from the Royal Hungarian Academy of Music in Budapest. He was concertmaster of the Budapest Opera and the Berlin Volksoper. His ensemble the Roth String Quartet debuted in Paris and first toured in Europe and Africa, then coming to the United States, Canada, and Mexico on an invitation from Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Roth immigrated to the US, where he was faculty at Westminster Choir College and, later, UCLA. 

undefinedWhite Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: White Christmas by Irving Berlin

undefined

Dena Bat-Yaacov

Dena Bat-Yaacov, UCLA Library Special Collections, Collection PASC 57-M

Dena Bat- Yaacov was born Dena Heller in Denver, Colorado. She began piano lessons at age seven, the same year she entered Hebrew school, and made her public debut at thirteen. As a concert pianist she specialized in the work of Jewish composers, particularly Charles Alkan. She relocated to Los Angeles in her twenties and spent the rest of her life contributing to musical life here. 

undefinedundefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: Sarah Rosenstein by George Whiting and Fred Fischer 

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: Kol Nidrei by Goldfaden

exhibit materials

exhibit materials

exhibit materials

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper by Hunter Desportes

Jewish musicians have contributed to many music genres and traditions, including metal and punk rock music - Alice Cooper and Gene Simmons created distinctive rocker aesthetics. The punk zine, Plotz: The Zine for the Vaclempt, covered Jews in music and pop culture. 

 

exhibit materialsShein Vi Di L'vone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: Shein Vi Di L'vone by Joseph Rumshinsky

exhibit materials

exhibit materials

exhibit materials

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco with Igor Stravinsky, right, UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections, Collection 117

In the mid-20th century, many prominent Jewish musicians and composers settled in Los Angeles, including Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Arnold Schönberg, Ernst Toch, Franz Waxman, and Erich Zeisl. They made lasting contributions to music in Los Angeles as well as in the city’s film, TV, and music industries. 

 

You Understand and I Love You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background image: You Understand and I Love You by Mary Lyon Taylor

exhibit materials

exhibit materials

exhibit materials