Prof. Ed­win Ser­oussi wins Is­rael Prize for mu­si­col­ogy

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By LIDAR GRAVÉ-LAZI

Prof. Ed­win Ser­oussi of the He­brew Uni­ver­sity of Jerusalem will be awarded the Is­rael Prize for his re­search in cul­ture, arts and mu­si­col­ogy, the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry said.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Naf­tali Ben­nett ap­proved the rec­om­men­da­tion of the prize com­mit­tee headed by Prof. Ei­tan Steinberg.

In its de­ci­sion an­nounced on Tues­day, the prize com­mit­tee hailed Ser­oussi’s con­tri­bu­tion and achieve­ments in the study of Jewish mu­sic in the re­gion of An­dalu­sia (Spain and North Africa) and the Ot­toman Em­pire.

“Prof. Ser­oussi is a pi­o­neer in the re­search of pop­u­lar mu­sic and Sephardi mu­sic (dubbed Mediter­ranean mu­sic),” the prize com­mit­tee wrote. “The fruits of his re­search in the field of mu­si­cal her­itage and Sephardi litur­gi­cal po­ems have pro­vided a frame­work for study and per­for­mance; and as such, Ser­oussi has con­trib­uted to im­part­ing them to many [peo­ple].”

Ser­oussi was born in Uruguay and im­mi­grated to Is­rael in 1971, where he com­pleted his un­der­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate de­grees in Mu­si­col­ogy at the He­brew Uni­ver­sity. He re­ceived his PhD from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Los An­ge­les.

He cur­rently serves as pro­fes­sor of mu­si­col­ogy and di­rec­tor of the Jewish Mu­sic Re­search Cen­ter at the uni­ver­sity.

Ac­cord­ing to the uni­ver­sity, his 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.

Ben­nett tweeted on Mon­day that he was “es­pe­cially happy” for the prize com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion be­cause Ser­oussi’s ex­per­tise is in Jewish mu­sic from An­dalu­sia (Spain and North Africa) – “fields that have not yet been suf­fi­ciently rep­re­sented.”

“To­day we bring the full Jewish story, [from] both the West and the East!” he tweeted.

Ben­nett has ex­pressed his sup­port on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions for em­pow­er­ing Sephardi cul­tural stud­ies within the gen­eral ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum and the Jewish nar­ra­tive.

In 2016, he es­tab­lished a com­mit­tee and ap­pointed Erez Bi­ton as its head, the first poet of Mizrahi de­scent to win the Is­rael Prize in Lit­er­a­ture (2015). Bi­ton was tasked with em­pow­er­ing the iden­tity of the Mizrahi Jewish com­mu­nity – in­clud­ing im­mi­grants from Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Tu­nisia and Libya – within the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

The Is­rael Prize is largely re­garded as the state’s high­est honor. It is pre­sented an­nu­ally on In­de­pen­dence Day in a state cer­e­mony in Jerusalem in the pres­ence of the pres­i­dent, the prime min­is­ter, the Knes­set speaker and the Supreme Court pres­i­dent.

(Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)


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