Edith Gerson-Kiwi – The Letters

The Letters of German-Jewish Musicologist Edith Gerson-Kiwi

 “From Berlin to Jerusalem and Back - The Letters of German-Jewish Musicologist Edith Gerson-Kiwi (1908-1992)”

Project duration:
1 May 2019 – 31 April 2022

Joint project of the European Center for Jewish Music at the Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media (Prof. Dr. Sarah Ross and Dr. Regina Randhofer) and the Jewish Music Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Prof. Edwin Seroussi)

This project traces the history of Gerson-Kiwi’s groundbreaking ideas and the processes through which they came into being through an in-depth analysis of her prolific correspondence spanning multiple decades of the twentieth century. Berlin-born Edith Gerson-Kiwi (1908–1992) is considered one of the founders of Israeli musicology, a prolific German-Jewish pioneer of music research and education. Edith Gerson-Kiwi was not only influential in the developing of musicology in Israel, but also helped to reformulate German musicology after World War II. The latter contribution was mainly made possible through her extensive, long-lasting correspondence and contact with colleagues in Germany. Yet, despite her significant contributions across many musical areas and disciplines, a critical appreciation and scholarly analysis of her life and work, including her prolific and substantial intercontinental correspondence, has yet to be undertaken.

After her death in 1992, most of Gerson-Kiwi’s estate was acquired by the European Center for Jewish Music (EZJM) in Hanover, Germany. The second section of her estate was endowed to the National Library of Israel (NLI) in Jerusalem. The importance of this estate cannot be underestimated: it allows scholars to draw a trajectory of this unique individual as well as to assemble a critical historical narrative highlighting the development of groundbreaking academic ideas and methodological procedures. Gerson-Kiwi’s letters are of particular significance, written and exchanged during Nazi rule in Germany to Palestine under the British Mandate, and from the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 well into its first five decades of existence. The Gerson-Kiwi estate includes more than 4000 letters, written from 1927 to 1990, comprehending a diverse, multifaceted network of local and international correspondents.  As such, the letters offer critical insights into the development of musicology and ethnomusicology as well as broader academic discourses.


Person to contact

Prof. Dr. Sarah M. Ross
Director of the EZJM
T. +49-(0)511-3100-7120
E-Mail: Prof. Dr. Sarah M. Ross

Dr. Regina Randhofer
Research Assistant
T. +49-(0)511-3100-7128
E-Mail: Dr. Regina Randhofer


Project information on the site of the Jewish Music Research Centre

The Edith Gerson-Kiwi Legacy

Last modified: 2022-03-29

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