The batmitzvah girl who walked like an Egyptian

By Paul Lester, October 21, 2010

The Bangles had it all. Good looks, critical acclaim and a series of infectious chart hits. For a period in the 1980s, with songs such as Manic Monday, Walk Like An Egyptian and Eternal Flame, the all-girl four piece from California were one of the biggest acts in the music business. But there was something else that made them really special. Unlike other girl bands - think Spice Girls or Girls Aloud - The Bangles wrote much of their own material, actually played their instruments, and made their own decisions about how to present themselves.


Jazzing up Shabbat

By Simon Round, October 7, 2010

Back in the mid-1960s Jonathan Klein - then a high school student with a passion for jazz - was approached to compose something for his synagogue. Klein had the novel idea of setting Shabbat prayers to jazz.


The new Jacqueline du Pré? Barenboim might just agree

By Jessica Duchen, October 7, 2010

Alisa Weilerstein, one of the cello's brightest rising stars, was accorded a huge honour earlier this year when she performed Elgar's Cello Concerto under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. Barenboim is said to have associated the work so deeply with his first wife, the cellist Jacqueline du Pré, that for many years after her death he preferred not to conduct it at all. Weilerstein was in effect stepping into du Pré shoes.


Eddie Fisher, from shul choirboy to Jewish Sinatra

By Michael Freedland, September 28, 2010

To those who remember him at all, Eddie Fisher was the husband of Debbie Reynolds who left her for Elizabeth Taylor and went on to have a sex life that made him more headlines than his career ever did as a singer.

On the other hand, to Jews of a certain age, particularly in America, he was the young, clean-cut man who had a voice that was so perfect they called him the "Jewish Frank Sinatra". They heard him sing Sunrise, Sunset, and the women swooned and the men kvelled.


Conducting a personal relationship with Mahler

By Jessica Duchen, September 21, 2010

Gustav Mahler is without a doubt the musical flavour of 2010. But not only that - the anniversary celebrations currently in full swing will extend into 2011, since the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth and the centenary of his death fall in these consecutive years.


Big in Tehran and Amman, Israel's heavy metal warriors

By Rob Boffard, September 16, 2010

In 2001, Kobi Farhi was sitting at his desk in Tel Aviv, checking his email. Farhi was the lead singer of Orphaned Land, an Israeli heavy metal band which at that time had not played together since 1994. Whatever was on Farhi's mind that day, it was probably not their music.


The shopping channel virtuoso

September 7, 2010

Devotees of the Leeds International Piano Competition may remember Katya Apekisheva in the final in 1996, playing Rachmaninov's second piano concerto. She was just 20 and her performance earned her a top prize, even if not the number one slot some thought she deserved.


Meet the pianist who played solo for 27 hours

September 2, 2010

For a performer whose work can be so funny, Chilly Gonzales can come across as taking himself a little too seriously. Gonzales, real name Jason Beck, is the Canadian whose big breakthrough was the 2001 electro-rap hit, Take Me To Broadway.


America's got talent - and they're in town to prove it

August 26, 2010

The best new Jewish bands come from Brooklyn. The contention will be tested in London next week when some of New York's top up-and-coming acts attempt to show that the scene over here cannot hold a menorah candle to theirs.

The concert, at The Macbeth venue in Hoxton, features DeLeon and Girls in Trouble, both signed to the Jdub record label. Jdub, whose most famous signing is the Orthodox rapper Matisyahu, is just one of a few New York Jewish labels that have been growing in the past few years. There are no such labels dedicated to nurturing Jewish acts in London.


Coming to the Proms: MidEast's rivers of blood

By Jessica Duchen, August 19, 2010

It is not every day that a living female composer finds herself centre-stage at the BBC Promenade Concerts. Betty Olivero, whose work, Neharot, Neharot, is to be performed at the afternoon Prom on August 21, is overjoyed as she plans her trip to London.

The association the Proms held with her mentor - the late Luciano Berio, doyen of the Italian avant-garde - counts for a great deal. "The Proms have dedicated many programmes to Berio's music in the past," she says. "For me to be played there, where my teacher was so prominent, is a very emotional moment."