The ongoing “Distinguished Lectures” series is being offered by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. During 2021, the lectures will be inspired by the opening of the Legacy Gallery, which is an extension of the Core Exhibition of the POLIN Museum. The Legacy Gallery explores the contributions of Polish Jews to world civilization in the fields such as the arts, sciences, economics or politics.

On 14 March, Professor Halina Goldberg will deliver the first online “Distinguished Lecture” in POLIN Museum’s 2021 series. She will explore the contribution of Polish Jews to the field of music. Entitled “Shared Soundscapes: The Legacy of Polish Jews in Music,” the lecture will be moderated by Prof. Judah M. Cohen and broadcast in English on the POLIN Museum YouTube channel.

The lecture is organized within POLIN’s Global Education Outreach Program (GEOP), which is supported by Taube Philanthropies, the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.


In the popular imagination, Jewish music-making in historically Polish lands is generally envisioned as separate from the music of the surrounding population, each group occupying a distinctly different soundscape. But historical records buried in Polish archives tell a different story going back hundreds of years. These sources repeatedly show that there were many opportunities for interaction between Jews and their neighbors despite legal restrictions and intense competition. This lecture explores the legacy of Polish Jews in music by focusing on the circumstances that allowed Jewish and Christian musicians to make music together—to learn from each other and share repertories and musical languages. The lecture also highlights the role of Jewish musical patronage in these exchanges. The presentation will include excerpts from newly discovered music by Polish Jews.


Halina Goldberg is Professor of Music at the Jacobs School of Music and Affiliate Faculty at the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program and the Russian and East European Studies Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington. She also serves as the Project Director for the Digital Scholarly Commons dedicated to the study of Jewish Life in Pre-World War II Łódź. Halina’s work is interdisciplinary, drawing on cultural studies, music, politics, performance practice, and reception. She focuses on 19th- and 20th-century Poland and Eastern Europe, Chopin, and Jewish studies, and on the interconnection of Polish and Jewish cultures.

Judah M. Cohen is Professor of Music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. HIs research interests include music in Jewish life, American music, musical theatre, popular culture, Caribbean Jewish history, diaspora, and medical ethnomusicology.


Sunday, 14 March 2021 | 8PM CET/ 2PM EST / 11AM PST / 9PM Israel
Shared Soundscapes: The Legacy of Polish Jews in Music

Broadcast in English at:

[Source: press release,]