Conference and Concert in Memory of Dr.
Dr. Eric Werner (1901-1988): Building
Sunday, November 24
Concert 7:30 PM
Conference, Concert, and Dinner $75
Conference and Concert $50
Pre-registration suggested, walk-in registration, one hour in advance
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
One West 4th Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street)
New York City
Dr. Eric Werner (1901-1988): Building Sacred Bridges celebrates
Dr. Eric Werner's enduring legacy as an eminent scholar, teacher
and composer who opened new doors in Jewish musicology. As one of
the founders of HUC-JIR's School of Sacred Music, he passionately
sought to establish a vibrant future for sacred music. He trained
generations of cantors and challenged scholarship by asserting the
existence of a bridge between synagogue and church music. This international
conference--the first examination of the legacy of one of the giants
of Jewish music--will explore Dr. Werner's life and scholarship
through lectures and performance. It will highlight his major contributions
to Jewish music as well as investigate the interconnections of Jewish,
Christian, and Islamic sacred music.
Dr. Eric Werner was a leading authority on all aspects of Jewish
music. Born on August 1, 1901, in Vienna, he studied at European
universities and academies, including those in Vienna, Prague, Berlin,
Goettingen, and Strasbourg. He was awarded a Ph.D. in 1928 in Strasbourg,
where he earned his doctorate in classics and musicology; his dissertation,
written in Latin, was a comparative study of the Western Christian
and Jewish forms of cantillation. This opened the door to a lifelong
study of Christian and Jewish liturgy.
Dr. Werner served as Vice President and Professor of Music at
the Conservatory of Music in Saarbruecken and at its gymnasium (1926-1933)
and as Professor of Music at the Jewish gymnasium and Jewish Theological
Seminary of Breslau (1934-1938). His musical education was highlighted
by his studies with Professors Curt Sachs and Guido Adler in the
master class of composition at the Berlin State Academy of Music
(with Franz Schreker) and then at the Academy of Arts (with Ferruccio
Busoni). His compositions were performed by the Hindemith Quartet
and by the orchestras of Saarbruecken, Frankfurt, Cincinnati (under
Eugene Goossens), Minneapolis (under Dimitri Mitropoulos), and Milan
(under Nino Sanzogno).
With increased restrictions on Jewish life under the Nazis, in
1938 Dr. Werner managed to enter the United States on a visitor's
visa. Hebrew Union College secured for Werner a non-quota immigration
visa following the retirement of its leading Jewish musicologist,
the renowned Abraham Idelsohn. Later, Dr. Werner was appointed Professor
of Jewish Music and Director of the Choir at HUC in Cincinnati.
Eventually, Dr. Werner joined HUC-JIR's New York School where, in
1948, he was a founding member of its School of Sacred Music.
Dr. Werner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957 to study
the concepts of liturgy and their influence on the history of church
and synagogue music. His research led to publication of The Sacred
Bridge: The Interdependence of Liturgy and Music in Synagogue and
Church During the First Millennium, the first full-length comparative
study of the music of Christian and Jewish liturgies showing the
liturgical and musical interdependence of church and synagogue during
the first millennium of the Christian era and highlighting the cultural
exchanges between East and West that occurred during those centuries.
After being named Professor Emeritus at Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion, Dr. Werner inaugurated the Department of
Musicology at Tel Aviv University and served as the first chairman
of the department from 1966-1971. In 1967, HUC-JIR bestowed upon
him an honorary doctorate and in 1968, the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem honored Dr. Werner by dedicating to him Yuval, its first
yearbook on Jewish music. In 1982, the Austrian Republic awarded
him its Great Golden Sign of Merit, First Class, for his contributions
to the arts and sciences.
Dr. Eric Werner was the author of more than 120 learned publications
on the history of Jewish music and other musicological subjects,
including Mendelssohn: A New Image of the Composer and His Age (1963);
A Voice Still Heard: The Sacred Songs of the Ashkenazic Jews (1976).
Dr. Werner was also editor of Contributions to a Historical Study
of Jewish Music (1976). His collected papers are in the archives
of the Leo Baeck Institute.
Located at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's
New York School, The School of Sacred Music is the oldest institution
in America dedicated to educating cantors--leaders of Jewish congregational
prayer, composers of liturgical poetry and song, teachers, and communal
leaders. Founded in 1948, the SSM preserves Jewish musical traditions
nearly lost in the Holocaust and promotes the Jewish musical creativity
that has flowered in the decades after World War II. The SSM is
the preeminent institution worldwide for educating cantors for the
Reform Jewish community and K'lal Yisrael.
For Information & Registration: 212-824-2279, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
or visit www.huc.edu/werner