Israel J. Katz

 U.S. ethnomusicologist
1930- 2021

Katz graduated from UCLA (B.A., 1956) and later spent two years (1959–61) in Jerusalem, where he studied privately with Edith Gerson-Kiwi and undertook field research among the Sephardic communities of Israel. He returned to UCLA and took his doctorate in 1967 with a dissertation on Judeo-Spanish ballads, comparing the stylistic features of traditional ballads from Jerusalem with those preserved among the Sephardim of Turkey, Greece, and Morocco. Among other places, he taught at McGill University (Montreal, 1968–74); Columbia University (1974–75); York College (CUNY), chairing the Department of Fine and Performing Arts; and Hebrew Union College as a visiting lecturer. He conducted research in Spain on a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975–76) and again as a Fulbright scholar (1985–86). In 1982, he became associated with the University of California, Santa Cruz (1982–89) and Davis (1989–2004), collaborating as an associate researcher with the renowned hispanists Samuel G. Armistead and Joseph H. Silverman (d. 1989) on the series Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews. Katz served as editor of Ethnomusicology (1970–72); for the Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, he was editor (1977–70), coeditor (with Albert Weisser, 1976–82), editor (1983–88), and coeditor with Arbie Orenstein (2001– ). He was a founding member of the American Society for Jewish Music (1974) and served as chairman of the board (until 1988).

Katz concentrated his studies on the Sephardic and Oriental Jewish communities of the Mediterranean region, and on the traditional folk music of Spain, with special studies on the 13th-century Cantigas de Santa Maria. He collected traditional ballads in Morocco (summer 1961), Spain (summer 1978) and Portugal (summer 1988), where he followed the footsteps of Kurt Schindler . Transcription and analytical techniques as well as comparative tune scholarship are basic to his researches. He wrote the books Judeo-Spanish Traditional Ballads from Jerusalem: An Ethnomusicological Study (1972–1975) and, with S.G. Armistead and J.H. Silverman, the six-volume Judeo-Spanish Ballads from Oral Tradition (1986–2005). He was also editor of many important studies and wrote numerous articles.

Source: Shiloah, Amnon. "Katz, Israel." In Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., edited by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, 12. Vol. 12. 

*(The picture was taken from The Dignity Memorial brand name site)

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