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  • Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month at Sony Music Group
  • May 31, 2024
Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month at Sony Music Group

May marks Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), an annual occasion that presents the opportunity for everyone to recognize and learn more about Jewish people’s contributions to the history and culture of the United States—and to celebrate a diverse community that embodies a wide range of traditions, practices, heritages, and identities. 

Sony Music Group proudly celebrated JAHM with internal programming that underscored the impact of Jewish artistry within our company and societal culture. Get a glimpse of our JAHM celebrations, below: 

Reflecting on Jewish History 

We kicked off the month with a very special history lesson with Tom Tierney, a Director of the Sony Music Archives, where he highlighted some of the great Jewish American artists, songwriters, composers and musicians who have contributed to music history. 

We learned fun facts like… 

  1. The first-ever Jewish American solo artist of the Columbia Phonograph Company (now Columbia Records) was Jules Levy (1838-1903). He was regarded as “The World’s Greatest Cornetist.” 
  1. Emile Berliner (1851-1929) was a German American inventor who invented the lateral-cut flat disc record, leading directly to the creation of the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1900, which later became the Sony Music label, RCA Records. 
  1. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Columbia Records and RCA Victor (now RCA Records) had some of the biggest selling records with their Broadway cast albums, like Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady. These recordings were driven by brilliant works created by many renowned Jewish composers, lyricists, book writers and performing artists.  

Yiddish Music and Its Influence on North American Culture 

Later in the month, we tuned in to a virtual discussion with Sebastian Schulman, Director of Special Projects and Partnerships at the Yiddish Book Center, where he educated us on the history of Yiddish music and its influence on North American culture. 

Schulman explained that Yiddish music evolved from its traditional form to more commercial or performative styles when it first came to North America. Today, while it can still be played traditionally, it can also incorporate elements of hip hop, heavy metal or other contemporary genres. Some songs have even been given mainstream recognition, like at the Grammy Awards and Juno Awards, respectively. 

A huge thank you to everyone who helped us recognize JAHM at Sony Music Group. Although the month has come to a close, we will continue to celebrate Jewish culture beyond the month of May, while also confronting and dismantling stereotypes the community faces. 

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