Music / New Jewish Culture Network 2013-14 Commission and Tour

Photo: Harry Bromley-Davenport; Art: Bart Woodstrup; The Sarajevo Haggadah: Published for Levenger Press by The Overlook Press, 2008

Photo: Harry Bromley-Davenport; Art: Bart Woodstrup; The Sarajevo Haggadah: Published for
Levenger Press by The Overlook Press, 2008

Accordionist Merima Ključo, composer of the 2013-14 NJCN commission and tour, The Sarajevo Haggadah (Credit: Jose de Vries)

Accordionist Merima Ključo, composer of the 2013-14 NJCN commission and tour, The Sarajevo Haggadah (Credit: Jose de Vries)

The 2013-2014 New Jewish Culture Network music commission, The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book, a multimedia work composed by Bosnian-born, Los Angeles-based accordionist Merima Ključo, traces the incredible journey of one of Jewish culture’s most treasured manuscripts. Using the musical traditions of Spain, Italy, Austria, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ključo illustrates and illuminates the Haggadah’s travels  from medieval Spain to 20th century Bosnia where it was hidden and rescued during World War II by Muslims, to its restoration by the National Museum in Sarajevo after the 1992-1995 war. Inspired by the historical novel by Geraldine Brooks, Ključo will present a multimedia project exploring the Sarajevo Haggadah as a symbol of diaspora and return. Check out the trailer here.

Video artist Bart Woodstrup will animate the Sarajevo Haggadah’s story

Video artist Bart Woodstrup will animate the Sarajevo Haggadah’s story

The Sarajevo Haggadah fits squarely within the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s vision to select projects by artists who can provide access to Jewish culture to audiences of all backgrounds.  For institutions engaged with intercultural or interfaith community-building efforts, engagement programs will provide space for dialogue with new audiences.

Pianist Seth Knopp

Pianist Seth Knopp, founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Peabody Trio.

Ključo performs internationally as a recitalist and has been guest soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Holland Symphonia, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. She has participated in a number of festivals including the St. Magnus Festival in Scotland, the City of London Festival, the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam, and the Gubaidulina Festival.

The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book’s artistic team includes pianist Seth Knopp and video artist Bart Woodstrup.

To read an article about the commission, click here.

For booking inquiries, please click here.

The 2014 Sarajevo Haggadah North American Tour

March 20 and 22, 2014 at 8:00pm
Putney, VT
Yellow Barn

March 26, 2014 at 8:00pm
Watertown, MA
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Co-presented by the Boston Jewish Music Festival
and the New Center for Arts and Culture

April 4, 2014 at 7:30pm
Dallas, TX
Nasher Sculpture Center

May 22, 2014 at 6:30pm
San Francisco, CA
The Contemporary Jewish Museum
Co-presented by The Contemporary Jewish Museum and the JCC of San Francisco

August 30-September 1, 2014

Toronto, Canada

Ashkenaz Festival

October 20, 2014
Washington, DC
Washington DC Jewish Community Center

November 19 and 20, 2014 at 8:00pm
Austin, TX
Texas Performing Arts

April 15, 2015 at 7:00pm

New York, NY 

The Morgan Library & Museum

Appearances on the tour will also include artist-in-residency workshops, talks, panel discussions, and other public programs featuring performers, scholars, and special guests.


The Sarajevo Haggadah performance was commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s New Jewish Culture Network, a league of North American performing arts presenters committed to the creation and touring of innovative projects, and developed in residence at Yellow Barn.

The New Jewish Culture Network has received major support from the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Anne Abramson Foundation, the Arnow Family Fund and other donors.

Program Overview

The New Jewish Culture Network (NJCN) is the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s pipeline for contemporary performing arts that explores the Jewish experience. NJCN is a collaborative commissioning and touring program represented by a select league of performing arts presenters, both Jewish and general. Music composition is a priority for the first several commissions. Past commissions recipients include Alicia Svigals for The Yellow Ticket (2012-2013) and Galeet Dardashti for Monajat (2010-2011).

The musician/composer receives a $10,000 commission for the project. Each presenter selected for the commission receives a subsidy for production costs associated with the tour.  Consisting of a diverse range of geography, size, and institutional type, NJCN members share a capacity to reach North American audiences of all cultural backgrounds through performances, artist-in-residency activities, and other interpretive programs in partnership with local Jewish and general organizations.

NJCN members convene annually in order to collaboratively select commissions, as well as review policy and criteria. Meetings also offer opportunities to exchange information about new trends, best practices, form strategic partnerships, and generate discourse about the performing arts through a Jewish lens. The Foundation seeks to facilitate deep and long-term relationships between artists and its Network members that extend beyond the commissions.


  • Music commissions are project-based and should reflect new work by accomplished musicians/composers in all career stages with a track record of professional production and touring.
  • Projects should be timely, imaginative, and risk-taking while rooted in Jewish traditions, history, and spirit.
  • Projects should have potential to generate public discourse
  • Selected artists should demonstrate an interest in community engagement through workshops, lecture-demos, panel discussions, public interventions, and educational programs.
  • Projects should be accessible to audiences of all cultural backgrounds
  • Projects may be in its early stages of development or at the final stages of completion and ready to tour in the year following receipt of the commission.
  • Preference is given to U.S.-based artists with citizenship or legal residency status; however, international projects with U.S. fiscal sponsorship may be considered.

Previous Commissions and Tours

2012-2013 The Yellow Ticket

2010-2011 Monajat

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