Farewell to the foremost scholar of music among the Jews

Farewell to the foremost scholar of music among the Jews


norman lebrecht

July 11, 2014

We mourn the death today in Jerusalem, aged 85, of Amnon Shiloach, professor of musicology at the Hebrew University and an unrivalled authority on Jewish traditions in music. I had hoped to include him in my recent series on Music and the Jews, but he was sadly unavailable.

He did an immense amount of groundbreaking fieldwork and published a magnum opus, ‘The Theory of Music in Arabic Writings ca.900-1900′.

Other works include: The Musical Tradition of Iraqi Jews,Music Subjects in the Zohar, Text and IndicesJewish Musical TraditionsThe Dimension of Music in Islamic and Jewish CultureMusic in the World of Islam: A Socio-cultural Study.

Away from Jerusalem, he taught at the University of Illinois. Amnon was a paramount teacher who never failed to answer student queries, no matter how dumb. May his rest be sweet, as we say.


amnon shiloah


  • Steve Muir says:

    Ah, what sad news. An inspiration to all of us in the world of Jewish music. If Idelsohn was the Grandfather of Jewish musical scholarship, surely Shiloah was the Father. He will be sadly missed. I’m just honoured that I heard him speak in person and met him once.