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An Evening of
Jewish Music and History

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6:00pm
Location: Chabad Center for Jewish Life
Cost: $10, JWC Members free

In September 1654 the first group of Jews set foot in the future USA. Who were they? How did they reach the Americas? Was there anyone who preceded them? How did they build their community? Were they welcomed?

Take a fascinating journey into the early Jewish communities of America with Anthropologist Dr. Ron Duncan Hart

Enjoy a musical presentation by Steven Ovitsky, horn and Deborah Ungar, piano. These talented musicians will perform traditional Jewish music in arrangements by Maurice Ravel and Israeli composer Lev Kogan.

Ron Duncan Hart.JPG Ron Duncan Hart is a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D. Indiana University) with postdoctoral work in Jewish Studies at the​ ​University of Oxford. He is a former university vice president and​ ​Dean of Academic Affairs and worked with international agencies​ ​in Latin America for twenty years.

He has received awards for his​ ​work from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the​ ​National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Fulbright​ ​among others. Hart has written a dozen books on cultural history​ ​and is currently a book on Sephardic Jews.

Photo courtesy of Diane Schmidt.

Steve Ovitsky.jpg

Steven Ovitsky has been active in the world of Jewish Music since his universitydays when he conducted concerts of music by Salomone Rossi and was Ba'al Tokeahand choir director for the University of Michigan Hillel Foundation. Ovitsky is shofarsoloist in a recording of Tekiatot by Hugo Weisgall with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra on a Naxos CD as part of the Milken Foundation Archive of Jewish-American Music.
Currently Executive Director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Ovitsky’sprevious positions include President and Executive Director of the MilwaukeeSymphony Orchestra, Vice President and General Manager of the MinnesotaOrchestra, and Artistic Director / General Manager of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

Since moving to Santa Fe, Steve has performed with the New Mexico Symphony, NewMexico Philharmonic, Santa Fe Symphony, and Opera Southwest.

Ovitsky is music director for the Hollywood Theatre of the Ear’s “Audie” award winning recordings of Ansky’s “The Dybbuk” starring Theodore Bikel, Edward Asner and Carl Reiner; “Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls”, and “St. Joan.” He has lectured on many aspects of Jewish music and will be the keynote speaker at the Albuquerque JCC’s “A Taste of Honey” day of Jewish learning on February 21.

Deborah Ungar.jpg Deborah Ungar is a pianist and multi-instrumentalist with a background in International Politics, Economics, and Sociology. She is a recognized performer and educator in the classical genre, earning degrees in piano, music theory, and music education. The catalyst for reconnecting with her love of studying and performing world music began at San Diego State University, where she studied Finnish, Indian, and Afro-Cuban music in addition to clarinet and piano. After moving to Santa Fe in 2007 she began intensively studying and performing music of the Balkans. She has performed at world music festivals and in a variety of musical settings across the US and Europe. Her recent work explores the roots of ethnomusicological practices of Balkan, Sephardic, and their interconnectedness through performances and education. Deborah is Adjunct Faculty at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design Contemporary Music Program, World Music Instructor for the Mandela International Magnet School, Music Specialist at the arts-based Nava Elementary School, Woodwind Faculty with World Arts Woodwind Institute, and Education Manager and Curriculum Specialist for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She currently performs with Rumelia, Rumelia Klezmer Band, and works as a freelance accompanist and chamber music performer in and around Santa Fe.

Deborah Ungar performs on Bugari Armando Accordions, Amati G and LeBlanc Bb Clarinets, and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Sage