Professor of Music and Jewish Studies, University of Chicago
Berlin Prize Fellow - Class of Fall 2003
Philip Bohlman continues to seek new ways of combining performance and research in his research on Jewish music and modernity. As Artistic Director of The New Budapest Orpheum Society, the Jewish cabaret troupe and ensemble-in-residence at the Humanities Division, Bohlman has initiated two new projects that follow the 2009 CD, Jewish Cabaret in Exile (Cedille Records). With Jewish Noir, the New Budapest Orpheum Society explores the stage repertories presented through Yiddish and German-Jewish films from the emergence of sound film in the 1920s to the post-Holocaust generation of the 1950s. The ensemble also worked with playwright, Tony Kushner, during his ArtSpeaks residence in April 2010, arranging songs from the concentration camps for Kushner’s new curtain-raiser for his translation of Hans Krása’s Brundibár, for which Bohlman wrote the introduction when the play and the libretto appear in published form. For their performances of stage music from the concentration camps, Phil and Christine Wilkie Bohlman were awarded the 2009 Donald Tovey Prize from Oxford University.
Intensive fieldwork remains a regular component of Phil’s research. In the winter of 2010 he conducted research, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, in Kolkata and Varanasi, India, and in May 2010 he was engaged in an intensive field study of the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo, Norway. In the summer of 2010, he taught and conducted workshops at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Hannover) and at the Centre Marc Bloch (Paris-Berlin). His Music, Nationalism, and the Making of the New Europe (Routledge) appeared in August 2010. His current research includes books on Johann Gottfried Herder and nationalism, Hanns Eisler as a Jewish composer (with Andrea F. Bohlman), and the aesthetics and politics of silence in music. Ongoing fieldwork includes studies of music in the Muslim communities of Europe and of religion and the arts in India.