Music plays an important part in nearly all religious traditions. But sacred music is not necessarily self-preserving. Dedication and foresight are sometimes needed to ensure that musical traditions will be around for future generations to experience. Inspired by his “own interest in music, and deep abiding commitment to synagogue life,” philanthropist Lowell Milken created the Milken Archive of Jewish Music to catalogue and preserve the diversity of sacred and secular music linked to “the American Jewish experience.”
Since its founding in 1990, Milken has committed more than $30 million to the archive, which now includes impressive collections of written and recorded music, oral history, and historical artifacts. In addition to saving existing works, the archive has commissioned new recordings, by artists ranging from Dave Brubeck to the Vienna Boys Choir. In partnership with the Naxos classical music label, the Milken Archive of Jewish Music has released a 50-disc series that documents the span of Jewish music.
- Milken Archive of Jewish Music, milkenarchive.org
- Catalogue of Naxos recordings, naxos.com/series/milken_archive_of_american_jewish_music.htm