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Celebrating Jewish Music in America

<I>Klezmer Concertos and Encores</I>, one of several CDs in the collection.
Klezmer Concertos and Encores, one of several CDs in the collection.

This month marks the 350th anniversary of the first Jewish settlement in America, in what is now New York City. Music commentator Miles Hoffman says one way to celebrate is to listen to a new collection from the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music.

The collection eventually will include dozens of CDs of Jewish music spanning those three and a half centuries.

The music, by about 200 mostly American Jewish composers, comprises a variety of styles, including sacred, secular, operatic, jazz and classical. The archive hopes to introduce "a repertoire that might not otherwise be heard, both to performing groups and audiences," Hoffman says.

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Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman is the author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, now in its tenth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. Before joining Morning Edition in 2002, Hoffman entertained and enlightened the nationwide audience of NPR's Performance Today every week for 13 years with his musical commentary, "Coming to Terms," a listener-friendly tour through the many foreign words and technical terms peculiar to the world of classical music.