Chgo YIVO Stempenyu Lecture

InProfileFrom Aug ’09 Spotlight: With thousands of works of art to his credit, Marc Chagall’s best known painting continues to be the one simply called Music (originally created for the Moscow State Yiddish Theater in 1920). Broadway lovers know this image (appearing again in 1924 as Green Violinist) was the source of the title for Fiddler on the Roof, but it is now so ubiquitous that we take it for granted.

In 2014, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fiddler’s first Broadway performance, so it’s time to look with fresh eyes. Stempenyu, a virtuoso musician from Ukraine, also gave his name to one of Sholem Aleichem’s first major stories. So who is that fiddler, so prominent every time the curtain rises on a new performance of Fiddler on the Roof? Is he Stempenyu?

For answers, come to my lecture “Stempenyu: From Berdichev to Broadway,” at Evanston Public Library on Mon Aug 17 at 12:15 PM. And for more details on all the programs in this year’s “Summer Festival of Yiddish Culture,” visit the Chicago YIVO Society’s blog:


Click HERE to listen to my Stempenyu lecture as a JUF podcast.

Follow this link for the EPL Slideshow –> Evanston09PPTX


Top Photo Credit: Flora Diaz

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