JTS Announces Appointment of Vocalist and Scholar Galeet Dardashti as Musician-in-Residence


Press Contact: Beth Mayerowitz
Office: (212) 678-8055
Email: publicity@jtsa.edu

August 2, 2017, New York, NY

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is delighted to announce the appointment of acclaimed vocalist, composer, and scholar Galeet Dardashti as assistant professor of Jewish music and musician-in-residence. Dr. Dardashti will serve in this position for two years.

Among her responsibilities, Dr. Dardashti will teach one course per year in the area of Jewish Music and Culture; teach one “mini-course” per year in her areas of musical expertise; and co-create and participate in at least one major musical program per year.

“JTS, as a unique institution of higher education, offers an exciting opportunity for me to share the diverse strands of my work—scholarly, performative, and cantorial,” said Dr. Dardashti, who gained renown as founder of the all-women’s ensemble Divahn. “I’m very much looking forward to exposing students to Sephardi/Mizrahi musical pieces and encouraging them to consider the ways in which non-Ashkenazi melodies may enhance the rituals and services that they lead.”  

According to JTS Provost Alan Cooper, “The appointment of a musician-in-residence is a great step forward in JTS’s ongoing commitment to the arts. As both an accomplished scholar and a brilliant performer, Galeet Dardashti brings a remarkable combination of talents to JTS. Her original compositions are extraordinary examples of performance art. Her vast musical repertoire encompasses everything from traditional Ashkenazi and Sephardi cantorial art to the latest secular and liturgical ‘hits.’ And her academic expertise gives her a profound understanding of the role that music plays in the shaping of Jewish identities in Israel and worldwide. With a winning and charismatic personality to complement her skills, Galeet should become an inspiring presence for our students.”

Dr. Dardashti’s appointment is one of several significant personnel appointments announced recently by JTS, including Elise Dowell as vice chancellor for communications and external affairs, Associate Professor Amy Kalmanofsky as associate vice chancellor, Rabbi Bronwen Mullin as rabbinic artist-in-residence, and Dr. Jason Rogoff as academic director of Israel Programs and assistant professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS’s Jerusalem campus located at the Schocken Institute.

About Galeet Dardashti                                         

Galeet Dardashti, a vocalist and scholar, is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian-Jewish musicianship. She has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative performers of Jewish music today, beginning with her work as founder and leader of the renowned all-woman ensemble Divahn. She received a Six Points Fellowship to pursue her multi-disciplinary project The Naming, which interprets some of the compelling women of the Bible. On its nationally acclaimed 2010 release, Time Out New York called The Naming “urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic,” and the Huffington Post described it as “heart-stopping.” In her commissioned multi-sensory piece, Monajat, Dardashti—accompanied by an acclaimed ensemble of Middle Eastern and jazz musicians—reinvents the reflective musical ritual of Selihot using digital technology to sing with recordings of her famed Iranian grandfather. She received her BA from the University of Maryland (magna cum laude) with a double major in English literature and Jewish studies and a minor in music/voice.  After spending a year in Jerusalem at the Pardes Institute, she went on to earn her MA and PhD degrees in cultural anthropology at the University of Texas. Her dissertation explored contemporary Middle Eastern music and cultural politics in Israel. Her recent academic positions have included (in addition to teaching at JTS) visiting scholar and postdoctoral fellow at NYU’s Taub Center for Israel Studies and Reitman Fellow at the Bildner Center and Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.

About The Jewish Theological Seminary

JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.