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David Berger and Joyce Rosenzweig

David Berger and Joyce Rosenzweig present their first album, Refuge. Each of the composers whose music has been included in this CD came to the USA as refugees fleeing anti-Semitism. In America they found refuge. Their contributions to American-Jewish music (and American music more generally) are manifold. For most of the pieces presented here, this is the first recording, and it is our honor to make them available to you now. These songs deserve to be heard and to take their rightful place in the canon of American Art Song. They represent a vital part of the story of American-Jewish music. They give testimony to the spirit and creativity of the refugee composers who crafted them.

David Berger is the great-grandson of 8 immigrants who came to the USA from Poland, Russia, and Lithuania between 1900 and 1920. Some fled pogroms which destroyed their homes, some feared the growing anti-Semitism around them, and some came to America looking for new opportunities. Their bravery and resilience are part of David’s precious family inheritance. Currently serving as Cantor of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago, IL, David is recognized internationally as a leading performer, scholar, and teacher of Jewish music. Through performances in synagogues and on concert stages throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel, David has become known for an eclectic approach to Jewish music that emphasizes connection through different cultures, genres, and historical periods.

Joyce Rosenzweig is the granddaughter of Jewish refugees who immigrated to the USA from Poland, Russia, and Ukraine between 1900 and 1915, arriving by way of Ellis Island and Galveston, Texas. The difficult lives they left behind, as well as the promising new lives they forged with great hardship and tremendous sacrifice, remain deeply inspiring for Joyce. She is a world-renowned pianist, conductor, and authority on Jewish art and synagogue music, performing in concerts throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Israel. Since 1994 Joyce has served as Music Director of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, NYC, where she has helped to create one of the most dynamic and emulated synagogue worship experiences in the country.