Trace the development of Sephardic songs and singers from medieval Spain and Portugal to North Africa and across the Mediterranean to the Balkans, Salonika, the fabled Constantinople, and back to Iberian lands. Ethnomusicologist and singer Dr. Judith Cohen draws on her many years of research and fieldwork to tell the story of Sephardic people and their songs through images, stories, and historic recordings — as well her through her own singing.

Dr. Judith Cohen is an ethnomusicologist, medievalist, and singer. Originally from Montreal, she has lived in Toronto for many years and teaches in the music department of York University. She is internationally known for her research, publications, and performances of traditional Sephardic songs, and songs of the Sephardic diaspora in the Balkans, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and French Canada. Dr. Cohen has also conducted fieldwork for two decades among the Crypto-Jews of rural Portugal, and is the editor and consultant for the 1952 Spain field recordings of the legendary Alan Lomax, whose Spanish journals she is currently editing. Her work with Sephardic and related music reflects her earlier research on women and music in the three religious communities of medieval Iberia. Alongside her scholarly work, she continues to perform and give workshops on the music traditions she studies.


Listening to Art, Seeing Music

Saturday, January 20 to Sunday, April 22

Musical Synthesis: Electrifying Traditional Music

Thursday, January 25, 1–2 pm

Listening to Art, Seeing Music with Amirali Alibhai

Tuesday, February 6, 6:30–7:30 pm

Singing as One: A Pathway to Pluralism

Thursday, February 8, 1–2 pm

Digital Music Creation for Youth

Sunday, February 11, 11 am–4 pm

Play in Progress: “Noor” by Erum Khan

Tuesday, February 20 and Wednesday, February 21

Healing Power of Music: The Story of Musideum

Thursday, March 1, 1–2 pm

Music and Sound in the Muslim World

Wednesdays, April 11 to May 16, 6:30–8:30 pm

Sephardic Music in the Mediterranean Soundscape

$20, $18 Friends, $12 students and seniors