Prof. Edwin Seroussi

Academic Background and Fields of Interest and Activity:
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, I immigrated to Israel in 1971 where I studied at the Department of Musicology at the undergraduate and graduate levels continuing into my doctoral studies at the University of California Los Angeles (1981-1987). As a faculty member of the Department of Musicology at the Hebrew University, I teach ethnomusicology, world music, theory and methodology in the study of oral traditions and popular music. My research focuses on the musical cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, interactions between Jewish and Islamic cultures (specifically in art music genres) and popular music in Israel. Within these subjects I explore process of hybridization, diaspora, nationalism and transnationalism in specific contexts such as the Ottoman Empire, and the constitution of Jewish identities through music making in settings as diverse as colonial Morocco and Algeria, Germany’s Second Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the early Zionist settlement in Palestine and the Judeo-Spanish speaking diaspora. My approach to research stresses the agency of individuals in the shaping of folk and popular culture, social networks and the role of reception and consumption in the making of musical cultures.

I have previously taught at the Department of Music of Bar-Ilan University (1987-2000) and chaired directed it (1996-2000), chaired the Department of Musicology at Hebrew University (2004-2008) and established and directed the new School of the Arts at the Hebrew University (2008-2013). Since 2000 I direct the Jewish Music Research Centre of the Hebrew University. I have been a visiting professor at several institutions, among them the University of California at Berkeley, Moscow University, Institut für Mussikwissechaft in Zürich and Dartmouth College, where I am a Visiting Scholar since 2008. More recently, in the spring of 2013, I was a Starr Fellow at Harvard University working on “The Jewish music experience under Islam and Christianity; A comparison”. Besides my academic activities I am active in the music scene of Israel and abroad in diverse capacities, such as consultant for music festivals, member of state committees in music and the arts and producer of music programs. Formerly I represented Israel at the International Music Council of UNESCO.

Contact Information:
Office Hours: Mondays 16:00-17:00 or by appointment, The Mandel Center for Jewish Studies (Rabin Building), room 2110.
Telephone number: +972-2-5880254

Selected Publications

  • Popular Music and Israeli National Culture (with Motti Regev). University of California Press, 2004. Expanded Hebrew edition published by the Open University Press, Ra’anana, 2013.
  • Judeo-Islamic Sacred Soundscapes: The “Maqamization” of the Eastern Sephardic Liturgy. Jews and Muslims in the Islamic World, ed. Bernard Cooperman and Zvi Zohar, University of Maryland Press, 2013, pp. 1-24.
  • Translating from Nothing and From Everything: Israel’s Habrera Hativeet (‘Natural Gathering’) in Retrospective. Journal of Mediterranean Studies 21/2 (2012), pp. 277-293.
  • La cantica de ‘La Santa Elena’ (El hermano infame): Algo más sobre la modernidad del cancionero sefardí. ehumanista 20 (2012), 354-383.
  • Music: The “Jew” of Jewish Studies, Jewish Studies – Yearbook of the World Union of Jewish Studies 46 (2009), pp. 3-84.
  • Israeli Music and Its Study: Processes and Experiences, Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online 7/2 (2008-2009), pp. 6-40.
  • Sephardic Fins des Siécles: The Liturgical Music of Vienna’s Türkisch-Israelitische Community on the Threshold of Modernity. Jewish Musical Modernism: Old and New, ed. by Philip Bohlman with a Foreword by Sander L. Gilman. Chicago University Press, 2008, pp. 55-80.
  • Singing Modernity: Synagogue Music in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Italy. Assimilation and its Discontents: The Italian Jewish Experience Between Inclusion and Exclusion, ed. David Myers, Massivo Ciavolella, Peter H. Reill and Geoffrey Symcox. University of Toronto Press, 2008, pp. 164-182.