March 29, 2007
Milken music archive is a treasure trove
(Page 2 - Previous Page)So what's next for the Milken Archive? It has a variety of projects under consideration. Although Naxos has released 50 CDs, the Milken Archive is considering offering a complete set of its recordings to institutions in hard form (CDs) or digitally; making a documentary based on the oral histories; creating a permanent or traveling exhibition on American Jewish Music; and/or developing a curriculum -- using American Jewish music as a way to study American Jewish cultural history.
"One of our goals is to figure out the best way to make the music available to the people who want to perform it. Not every concert of our archive needs to be performed by us. The goal is access to as many people as possible."
Sandler says he finds great satisfaction knowing that "what Lowell conceived of will be here 100 years from now. It will be here, and it wouldn't be here if we hadn't done it."
I asked Sandler whether through his work at the archive he had uncovered a special connection between music and the Jewish People. Sandler admitted that he had thought a lot about it, but had come to no definitive answer. However, it had crossed his mind that "as a nomadic people, one of the things that's very easy to take with you is your music."
The history of Jews in America is but 350 years old -- yet there exists a wealth of music, striking in its breadth and diversity, that tells a story that ranges from the prayer rooms to theater stages and the concert halls, that is secular and spiritual, comic and majestic, speaking of history and private life. It is complemented by a record of the people who created and performed that music that is now available, thanks to the Milken Archive, to be heard, studied, played and enjoyed. You may even ignore it -- safe in the knowledge that it is there for you to discover tomorrow and there for the generations that follow.
As jazz legend Charlie Parker once said, "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom."
Now, the Milken Archive is our own.
Tom Teicholz is a film producer in Los Angeles. Everywhere else, he's an author and journalist who has written for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Interview and The Forward. His column appears every other week.
1 | 2