Judith Berkson

The Vienna Rite

A chamber opera about Salomon Sulzer's life and intrigues within 19th century Viennese society, drawing from classical sources and Judith's experimental rock band Platz Machen.


Nov 2, 2012Judith Berkson’s The Vienna Rite in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NY

Jun 7, 2012Two Fellows Celebrate Shavuot in Oregon

Mar 25, 2012Judith Berkson in San Fran!
San Francisco, CA

Mar 8, 2012Judith Berkson performs in Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Jan 19, 2012Judith Berkson performs in Philly
Philadelphia, PA

Nov 5, 2011Judith Berkson Preview Performance
Brooklyn, New York

Apr 19, 2011Judith Berkson Singing Liederkreis at Littlefield, NYC

Brooklyn, New York 11217

Oct 9, 2010Judith Berkson with the Kronos Quartet

New York, NY

The LA Fellows

Judd Greenstein
Judith Berkson
Hadassa Goldvicht
Netta Yerushalmy
Sylvan Oswald
Hannah Bos
Oded Hirsch
Liana Finck
Alicia Jo Rabins


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    “Adon” (excerpt) – From The Vienna Rite

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    “Musing” (live excerpt)



“The Vienna Rite,” a chamber opera based on the life of Salomon Sulzer (an influential 19th century cantor in Vienna), was performed at Roulette in Brooklyn, on November 2nd and 3rd, 2012.

Salomon Sulzer was the first to employ trends from European music, such as organ, opera and choir, into traditional Jewish music. His reforms caught on throughout Europe, signifying a change in tradition that was not always so easily met. “The Vienna Rite” explored Sulzer’s connection to the surrounding Viennese cultural figures, such as Franz Schubert and the Emperor Franz Joseph, as well as his complicated desire to preserve his Jewish tradition while infusing it with external musical forces.

The performance featured a vocal ensemble, percussion, harmoniums, and organ, and drew from a wide variety of musical influences, including Renaissance motets, Viennese opera, cantorial music, ambient sound, and rock, in order to tell the story of Sulzer’s life and interactions.

A composer, singer, pianist, and accordionist, Judith Berkson’s performances reflect a diversity of interests from chamber music to experimental bands, Schubert lieder and Cantorial music. The New York Times says of her, “An intriguing young singer-pianist, with commitment and heart, she stamps her own disposition on the broad range of songs she chooses to cover.” Judith studied voice at New England Conservatory with Lucy Shelton, theory and composition with Joe Maneri, and piano with Judith Godfrey and Viola Haas.  Her latest recording Oylam, released on ECM records in May 2010, features piano pieces and songs performed on vintage organs and keyboards. Judith has played in New York City at Zebulon, The Stone, Barbès, Cakeshop, Issue/Project Room and Le Poisson Rouge and at Museo Picasso Malaga in Spain and the BrucknerTag in Austria. She is also an assistant cantor at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation in New York and writes for her rock band Platz Machen, whose songs are based on Hebrew liturgy and Cantorial chant. Currently she is completing a new project with the Kronos Quartet of Schubert arrangements and cantorial pieces co-transcribed from early 20th century recordings. The first piece “Ov Horachamim” premiered at Zankel Hall in 2008.


Dec. 17, 2012

New York Times
Nov. 1, 2012

Tablet Magazine
April 6, 2011

New York Times
May 28, 2010

Wall Street Journal
May 24, 2010