Academic

Forthcoming: book chapter in Oxford University Press volume Global Perspectives on Orchestras (The British Symphony Orchestra and the Arts Council of Great Britain).

The December 2013 issue of 'The Musical Times' includes Benjamin's article,'The SPNM 1943 - 1975: a retrospective'. Details can be found here.

Recent conference papers have explored the Musicians' Union (Glasgow 2016), nineteenth-century Jewish choral music (Leeds 2015), the life of Louis Lewandowski (Rome 2015), the career of Alick Maclean (NABMSA 2014), Ewan MacColl's 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' (Popmac 2013), the place of new opera at the Royal Opera House in the post-war period (NABMSA 2012), and  British attitudes to censorship after the Second World War (RMA/King's College London, 2012).

Benjamin Wolf's PhD thesis is available for download from the British Library's Ethos system. You can find it here. If you have any problems please use the contact form on this website.

Wildlife Photos (the hobby)
Next Appearance

18th March 2017 - Haydn Nelson Mass with RFMS

19th March 2017 - Come and Sing Pesach at Belsize Square (Zemel)

26th March 2017 - Choral Extravaganza at Belsize Square Synagogue (the choirs of Belsize Square and the youth choir of Berlin's Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue)

14th May 2017 - Family Music Day at Belsize with the Zemel Choir and the Wallace Ensemble

 

Music Downloads
Belsize Square Synagogue: Todah V
The Zemel Choir: Celebrate With Song

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Composition

The Etz Chayim Cello Concerto was written for the 70th anniversary of Belsize Square Synagogue. It was described as an 'individual sound world of colour and incisive brilliance' (Jewish Renaissance Magazine April 2009). You can download the concerto using the link on this page. Recorded live with the Wallace Ensemble and cellist Gemma Rosefield.

You may also be interested in other compositions using ancient Greek or Jewish elements:

'Siren Song' (based on Ancient Greek Modes), performed by Hannah Rosenfelder and Anneke Hodnett

'Echoes from the voice of God', using biblical cantillation

bOYbershop

Here's bOybershop singing the 'Only Jewish Cowgirl'. You can download this track (and the recording of the whole concert) by clicking on the link to the left.

Piano

'A Frayer Foigl', with Ruti Halvani

'Kaddish' by Ravel, with Marc Finer

Benjamin Wolf was awarded a PhD by the Music Department of Royal Holloway (University of London) in 2010, and has since taught at several British Higher Education Institutions. He is particularly interested in the social history of music and musical institutions, the economics of music, systems of musical promotion and musical life in the twentieth and twenty-first century. His research examined the development of systems of arts subsidy in Britain before and after the Second World War, and their influence upon the fate of new music and living composers. The following is his PhD abstract. The full thesis is available through the British Library's Ethos Service. Alternatively, anyone interested in this research area is welcome to send a message through the contact page.

"The period immediately before and after the Second World War witnessed extreme changes in the ideologies and institutional structures of both government and the organisations promoting classical music in London. This thesis examines the impact of such changes on the fate of new music and the living composer, using a combination of detailed archival research, musicological examination, and consideration of wider cultural and economic factors. It describes a shift from a system dependent on markets and private patronage to one that depended on public subsidy – to some extent, a change from a system which sought to satisfy private tastes to one in which music was promoted for more complicated ideological reasons. This shift occurred in tandem with other phenomena, including the emergence of new technologies of broadcasting, recording and cinema; the development of ideals of public service (particularly in broadcasting); the emergence of popular culture; an increasingly rigid compartmentalisation of music into ‘serious’ and ‘light’ categories; an increase in the total quantity of music (including new music) available; and an increasing willingness and desire to promote more ‘adventurous’ or modernist musical forms. This adventurous new music was only partially promoted by traditional institutions such as symphony orchestras and opera houses, who were hampered by extreme financial difficulties (exacerbated by the hostility of audiences, union demands, changes in the wider economy and some aspects of government policy). Instead, it primarily received support from the BBC or the Arts Council, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. These institutions sought to promote music for reasons which were in part educational, and in part connected with a particular attitude to musical history and development. However, they also recognised the need to acknowledge and respond to the tastes of the public at large. While the BBC was a direct provider of both live performances and broadcasts, the Arts Council provided finance through secondary institutions. It encouraged the performance of new music as a niche element in mainstream music-making and sponsored recordings. It also financed a number of small, specialist institutions with an acknowledged interest in progressive or modernist music. Such specialist institutions – often run by composers themselves – came to have increasing influence over the repertoire performed both within mainstream institutions and elsewhere, thereby ensuring a significant public presence for minority interest and modernist music, often at the expense of more traditional musical forms."