Music and education have always been central to the Jewish people. In this spirit, Lowell Milken founded the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience to explore the vast panorama of sacred and secular works reflecting three centuries of Jewish life in America. While much of this music had become a vital force in American and world culture, Lowell realized that even more music of specifically Jewish content had been created, perhaps performed, but then lost to current and future generations.
Since its founding in 1990, this historic recording project has grown to encompass more than 700 newly recorded works — including 500 world premiere recordings — by more than 200 composers. From symphonies to synagogue services, Yiddish theater to opera, and chamber works to cantorial masterpieces, the universal appeal of great music and virtuoso performances has the potential to touch people of all faiths and cultures while providing Jews with an invaluable link to their heritage.
A catalogue of 50 Milken Archive CD’s on the Naxos American Classic label is now available worldwide. Producer David Frost won a GRAMMY© as Producer of the Year, Classical, for his work on five Milken Archive recordings; and a radio series, "American Jewish Music from the Milken Archive with Leonard Nimoy," continues to air.
In Fall 2010, the Milken Archive will launch a new "virtual museum" website with current and never-before-released content organized into 20 thematic volumes. An important feature of the site will be oral history videos, created from more than 800 hours of interviews that preserve for posterity the historical documentation and context of Jewish music in America.