Yiddish Dreams & Futures

March 18, 2023 | 07:00 pm

$Kresge Auditorium | $10 Suggested Donation
March 18, 2023 | 07:00 pm

Yiddish Dreams & Futures

The Boston Festival for New Jewish Music presents Yiddish Dreams & Futures, a portrait concert of composer Derek David, featuring new vocal and chamber works that reflect upon Jewish identity and Yiddish culture in a contemporary landscape. 

The concert, hosted by MIT Music & Theater Arts in Kresge Auditorium, will feature the full premiere of Derek’s Clarinet Quintet “Oh World, Goodnight” by Del Sol and Andrew Friedman, and the premiere of String Quartet No. 4 “Kaddish” with Verona Quartet. 

Vocal works will include a performance of Four Yiddish Folksongs featuring Nat Seelen and Abigale Reisman of Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band, pianist Renena Gutman, and soprano Megan Jones, as well as choral works with A Besere Velt, the world’s largest Yiddish chorus.

This project is supported by a grant from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Arts & Culture Community Impact Grant Fund.


Four Yiddish Folksongs

String Quartet No. 4 “Kaddish” *World Premiere

TBC: Communist Anthem (American socialist)

TBC: The Watermelons (Judeo-Ukrainian Lovesong)

One original Madrigals* World Premiere

TBC: Youth Hymn of the Warsaw Ghetto


“Di Firedike Lib”

Clarinet Quintet “Oh World, Goodnight”*World Premiere 

(Co-Commissioned by the Rossini Club and the Del Sol Performing Arts Organization for the Del Sol Quartet and Nicholas Davies)


Del Sol Quartet (https://www.delsolquartet.com/presskit)

Andrew Friedman, clarinet (https://www.andrewfriedmanclarinetist.com/)

Verona Quartet (http://www.veronaquartet.com/bio)

A Besere Velt choir (https://circleboston.org/community-chorus)

Megan Jones, soprano

Abigale Reisman, violin (https://www.abigalereisman.com/about)

Nat Seelen, clarinet (https://www.natseelen.com/)

Renana Gutman, piano (https://renanagutman.com/bio)

Carduus Choir (https://www.carduuschoir.com/about)


Derek David is a composer, conductor, and music educator based in Boston, Massachusetts. His dramatic and vibrant chamber music has been performed in both Europe and the United States and has received great recognition from audiences and critics alike. Derek’s String Quartet (2011), described as “a true musical jewel of the 21st Century,” has been met with international praise and repeated performances throughout the United States. Derek has been the recipient of the EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute Prize (2011), the Morton Gould ASCAP Award (2011), first place in the 2015 American Prize in Composition–Chamber Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s New Art Song Competition. Mr. David was the recipient of the 2018 SFCM Hoefer Prize for his accumulative body of work from over the past 10 years.

He has been commissioned by the Juventas Ensemble, SAKURA Cello Quintet, The Sonica Quartet, The Sounding Board, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, the Verona Quartet, Del Sol String Quartet, and the Institute for Jewish Research (YIVO). His music has received repeated national performances and was featured in the 2019 LA Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight new music festival. 

Derek is currently the musical director and conductor of ‘A Besere Velt’ - אַ בעסערע װעלט, one of three choirs in the world dedicated to the performance and preservation of Yiddish repertoire. ABV proudly promotes a message of economic, racial, and social justice.

Derek studied composition at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received Masters and Doctoral degrees from The New England Conservatory. As an enthusiastic educator, Derek has taught theory and musicianship at the New England Conservatory, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, at The Walden School, and was previously a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He is currently Lecturer in Music at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For his work at Harvard, Dr. David is a five-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award. His areas of interest extend to Medieval theory and musicology, The Beatles, and music of the Yiddish world.

About us

The Boston Festival of New Jewish Music was created by local musicians who believe that:

- People find meaning and joy in art and community, and communities come together around shared experiences, especially regular meetings over time.

- We all benefit from hearing great concerts and musicians benefit from the opportunity to develop and present new works to people excited to hear them.

- A strong cultural ecosystem is part of what makes the Boston area so vital and strong.

- Great Jewish music is great music. You don’t need to be from the South Bronx to love hip hop or from Panama to love reggaeton; why should you need to know the difference between the Torah and the Talmud to fall in love with Abigale Reisman’s violin or Zach Mayer’s saxophone? Our music is from a certain cultural place, but it’s for everyone.

- Art should be accessible to everyone in our broader community. Especially after the past 18 months has made hearing live music so difficult, we are doubling down on accessibility. Concerts are free and live-streamed for folks who can’t attend in person. For those who can, the venue is totally handicapped accessible and an easy walk from the Red Line, Orange Line, Green Line, and BlueBike stations.

If you believe any of these things, or just want to hear some amazing concerts, join us for this second season of the Boston Festival of New Jewish Music. 


Host and MIT Sponsor: MIT Music and Theater Arts

Supporters: Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Jewish Arts Collaborative