Two new women rock Jewish music and art worlds

November 24, 2011
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Cool: Sophie Solomon

Cool: Sophie Solomon

Sophie Solomon, the Oxford University-educated violinist who helped make klezmer cool in the UK, is to be the new director of the Jewish Music Institute.

A founder member of Jewish roots band Oi Va Voi, Ms Solomon, 32, will succeed Geraldine Auerbach, who steps down next year as founding director after 28 years.

Mrs Auerbach said: "We could not have dreamed up a more excellent person to take the position. We are very lucky."

After Oi Va Oi, Ms Solomon pursued a solo career which has ranged from performing klezmer with the London Symphony Orchestra to a recent appearance at Paul Weller's birthday concert at the Royal Albert Hall. She composed the music for the play Our Class on Poles and the Holocaust at the National Theatre and also scored a documentary on the jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

JMI, which is based at London University's School of Oriental Studies, has promoted both the study of Jewish music as well as organised events ranging from concerts of chazanut to Klezmer In the Park.

Meanwhile, the Ben Uri Art Museum has announced a new appointment to strengthen its commitment to the study of émigré artists.

Sarah MacDougall, the head of Ben Uri's curatorial services since 2009, is to be its first Eva Frankfurther research and curatorial fellow.

Eva Frankfurther was born in Berlin in 1930. Aged nine, she came to London with her family as war broke out. She studied at St Martin's School of Art alongside Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, and became noted for her portraits of London immigrants, though she tragically committed suicide in 1959.

The Ben Uri's David Glasser said: "In Eva Frankfurther's death, the art world lost a rare talent. Through this post, Ben Uri is immensely proud to recognise her achievements".

    Last updated: 12:57pm, November 24 2011