Please join us for two free panel discussions that delve into the creative work behind Generate Music, a new collection of compositions exploring the ties between Black and Jewish Americans. Each panel features a different group of artists. Panels are hosted and curated by the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History and Temple University’s Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection (scroll down for description).

May 28, 2024: Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

6 PM
101 South Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106

In a conversation moderated by WWFM’s David Osenberg, Generate Music artists Diane Monroe (composer/violinist), Susan Watts (composer/vocalist/trumpet), and David Gilmore (electric guitar) will talk about the process of making music with a special 11-member “supergroup” formed for this project, inspiration for their compositions, and more.

Diane Monroe’s Ironies takes its title from, in her words, “the ironies of my grandparents attending the services of Black Jewish Rabbi Abel Respes at a synagogue in Philadelphia, after my grandmother’s years of domestic work for Jewish families” and “my own experiences within educational and social segregation, alongside strong bonding between Black and Jewish Americans in my own neighborhood, throughout the civil rights movement, and in my life-long friendships as an African American with Jewish Americans.” Diane is a Pew Fellow and former first violinist of the Uptown String Quartet and the Max Roach Double Quartet.

Trumpeter and Pew Fellow Susan Watts is the sole living purveyor of an important klezmer dynasty that reaches back to the Jewish Ukraine of the 19th century. Her piece is entitled Convergence. She writes: “To the Jew and to the African American there are important songs and sentiments that define each culture’s tropes. At times, both cultures may have difficulty hearing each other. My composition works toward bridging that gap with musical reciprocity: reimagining the Black National Anthem with Yiddish words and re-contextualizing the songs of the synagogue and songs of both people’s culture, awareness, hopes, and struggles to be heard and understood.”

Guitarist David Gilmore has worked with Wayne Shorter, Dave Douglas, Muhal Richard Abrams, Sam Rivers, Steve Coleman, Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Uri Caine, Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Ron Blake, Carolyn Leonhart and Christian McBride, among many others. In addition to his significant presence on the international touring scene, Gilmore has also appeared on over 50 recordings, including two of his own as leader. His first CD, Ritualism (2001), received international critical praise and was nominated for the 2001 Debut CD of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. 

Moderator: The high point in David Osenberg’s broadcasting career came in 2014 when he was the recipient of the Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for Broadcasting for his weekly program, Cadenza.  David came to WWFM The Classical Network in 2004. In 2006 he began hosting his weekly Cadenza interview program. Since 2009 he has been at the forefront in making the station the most active classical music station in the USA to broadcast live concerts.  He currently serves as Music Director, Partnership Manager, Host of Cadenza, the unique Celebrating Our Musical Future (bringing listeners weekly concerts from the great music schools in the country) and afternoon drive time host. In the past, he has taught music at the University of Delaware-Wilmington, served as Music Director at a church, and founded and still leads The Straight Ahead Big Band.

Read about all of the Generate Music artists and their contributions to the project here.
Learn more about the Weitzman Museum here.

Panel discussion curated by:
Dan Samuels, Director of Public Programming, Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History
Helen Haynes, Former Director of Exhibitions/Programs at the African American Museum of Philadelphia; former Director/Curator of the Montgomery County Community College Lively Arts Series
Matthew Levy, Executive and Co-Artistic Director, PRISM Quartet

May 30, 2024: Charles L. Blockson Afro American Collection, Temple University

4 PM
Charles Library Event Space
1900 N 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Moderated by entertainment broadcaster/producer Dyana Williams, this conversation features Generate Music artist David Krakauer (composer/clarinetist), Rodney Whittenberg (director of the documentary Blews and the Abstract Truth), and Jared Jackson (Founder and Executive Director of Jews in ALL Hues). They will discuss the inspiration for David’s piece, the special 11-member “supergroup” formed for this project, Rodney’s forthcoming documentary about the partnership of Black and Jewish musicians and impresarios, and more.

A co-leader of Abraham, Inc., Ancestral Groove, Breath & Hammer, and former member of the Klezmatics, clarinetist/composer David Krakauer describes his Generate Music piece, The Unknown Common Ancestor, as “representing the need that all human beings have to express themselves. For Jews and African Americans, I see one of the ‘common ancestors’ as the ‘cry’ of supplication reaching towards the divine: from the sound of Armstrong’s or Dizzy’s or Miles’ trumpet or Coltrane, or Bechet’s or Bird’s saxophone to the sounding of the ram’s horn (the shofar) during the Jewish high holy days; from the singing of a cantor in a synagogue to the ecstatic voices in the black church; from the scream of a preacher (or James Brown) to the bittersweet wailing of a klezmer band on a scratchy 78 record. These sounds of supplication all feel like one of the common ‘ancestors’ that Jews and African Americans share. Why ‘unknown’ ancestors? Because human beings as a species often fail to recognize these deep commonalities that we all share, causing our common humanity to become forgotten….and therefore somehow ‘unknown’.”

Rodney Whittenberg is the founder and director of Melodyvision, a video production company that serves as a platform for his wide-ranging skills as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, filmmaker, and educator. He has composed music for over 34 films and TV shows. Projects include Anthony Bourdain’s show A Cooks Tour; PBS POV Documentary The Camden 28; and horror cult classics Infested and Return to SleepAway Camp. He’s received a regional Emmy for his score for the TV Documentary Mother Dot’s Philadelphia and Best Sound Design at the Terror Film Festival for Toll Taker. His recent audio projects as producer and engineer include Zones by Philadelphia Percussion Project featuring the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon, and Naked World by world jazz vocalist Phyllis Chappell. Rodney’s work as a filmmaker centers on his passion for creative storytelling. His projects include: Code Name: Ayalon, the award winning films Portraits of Professional Caregivers: Their Passion, Their Pain, Angels and Saints: Eros and Awe, and over 40 short films with A Force for Good. He was featured in the book Face To Face: Encounters between Jews and Blacks by Laurence Salzmann and is currently directing a documentary with the working title “Blews and the Abstract Truth,” which explores how the partnership of Jewish and Black artists and impresarios “helped America find its musical soul.” 

Jared Jackson, MAJNM, is the Founder and Executive Director of Jews in ALL Hues, an education and advocacy organization that builds a world where intersectional diversity and dignity are normative. A Philadelphia-born multi-heritage Jew, Jared is an internationally renowned Jewish diversity leader, consultant, facilitator, speaker, writer, musician, and entrepreneur. He is an alum of the Selah leadership program through Bend The Arc: A Jewish Partnership for justice. Jared holds a certificate of nonprofit management from LaSalle University and was named one of the “Jews That Will Change the World” by periodical Ma’ariv. Along with everything else, In May of 2021, Jared graduated from Hebrew Union College with a Master of Arts in Jewish Nonprofit Management.  

Moderator: Dyana Williams is an entertainment powerhouse who is a beloved advocate and authority in Black music. The legendary on-air personality is a trailblazer in broadcasting, music activism and celebrity media strategy. She’s been a staple in radio since the 70s, and has been a frequent commentator on the highly acclaimed TV One music series, UNSUNG. She also co-executive produced the Teddy Pendergrass episode of UNSUNG, which garnered a NAACP Image Award that season. Fondly referred to as “The Mother of Black Music Month,” Dyana helped establish June, Black Music Month (with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Gamble and broadcaster Ed Wright) and was recognized for her music activism in the White House by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. Dubbed by the New York Times as “hip-hop’s artist whisperer,” Williams has engineered media strategies for her celebrity clientele who have included multiple GRAMMY Award winners, many platinum-selling performers, executives, actors and athletes, among many others. Some notable clients have included Rihanna, Jazmine Sullivan, Kirk Franklin, Jack Harlow, Charlie Wilson, and Saweetie, among others.

Read about all of the Generate Music artists and their contributions to the project here.
Learn more about the Blockson Collection here.

Panel discussion curated by:
Dr. Diane D. Turner, Curator, Charles L. Blockson Afro American Collection, Temple University
Leslie Willis-Lowry, Archivist, Charles L. Blockson Afro American Collection, Temple University
Helen Haynes, Former Director of Exhibitions/Programs at the African American Museum of Philadelphia; former Director/Curator of the Montgomery County Community College Lively Arts Series
Matthew Levy, Executive and Co-Artistic Director, PRISM Quartet