Walter Zev Feldman is a leading researcher in both Ottoman Turkish and Jewish music. During the 1970s he spearheaded the revival of klezmer music. Today he is a performer on the klezmer dulcimer, the cimbal, and on the Ottoman lute, the tanbur. His book, Music of the Ottoman Court: Makam, Composition, and the Early Ottoman Instrumental Repertoire (Berlin, 1996) is taught as a basic text worldwide. Between 2011 and 2015 he researched the Jewish, Gypsy and Greek musical traditions of Moldova/Bessarabia, sponsored by NYU Abu Dhabi. Feldman is also an authority on Ashkenazic dance, forming part of his current research on the role of gesture in the performing arts, which he taught in the NYU Abu Dhabi core course “Gesture” (2013-15) and in NYU on the Square (2018). In 2017 he gave a series of workshops on this topic in Tokyo and in Moscow. In 2004 he co-directed the successful application of the Mevlevi Dervishes of Turkey as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity for UNESCO. His new book From Rumi to the Whirling Dervishes: Music, Poetry and Mysticism in the Ottoman Empire is sponsored by the Agha Khan University and will be published by Edinburgh University Press. Feldman is currently a Senior Research Fellow affiliated with New York University, Abu Dhabi, and the Artistic Director of the Klezmer Institute.
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