On September 13th 2016, Hervé Roten has been nominated Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by French minister of culture and communication, for his contribution and commitment to the French culture.
Director of the European Institute for Jewish Music since its creation in 2006, Hervé Roten worked relentlessly for the preservation and recognition of the Jewish musical heritage in France and worldwide.
The attribution conditions of this distinction, defined by decree, say that: « this Order is aimed to reward people who set themselves apart by their creations in the artistic or literary field or by their contribution to the outreach of the Arts and Letters in France and worldwide ».
The prize will be officially given on December 15th 2016.
Doctor in musicology from Paris IV Sorbonne University,awarded from the National Superior Music Conservatory of Paris, with an ethnomusicologic background, Hervé Roten was very soon interested in Jewish music. Author of many articles, works and discs on that subject, spokesman and producer of radio programs, he is today recognized as one of the best specialists of Jewish music in the world.
In February 2000, Nelly Hansson, director of the French Judaism Foundation, hires him to begin a program of safeguard and valorization of Jewish music in France. At the same time, he teaches ethnomusicology and works on the preservation of musical archives in the universities of Reims and Marne-La-Vallée.
Conscious and concerned by the extreme fragility of the Jewish musical heritage, which mainly comes from oral transmission, Hervé Roten, who became director of YUVAL in 2005, starts to create an international Jewish music center. This project is officially born in June 2006 with the French Center for Jewish Music (FCJM), created by the Foundation for French Judaism and YUVAL, due to the impulse of the Henriette Halphen Foundation and its generous donator Isabelle Friedman.
In March 2009, the FCJM is relocated in a more spacious place, just above the Foundation for French Judaism and becomes a Non-Profit Organisation under the French Law 1901. It gathers around him around 10 volunteers and one full-time employee.
In July 2012, under the impulse of the new board of director of FFJ, the French Center for Jewish Music becomes the European Institute for Jewish Music (EIJM) with an enlarged goal:
Collection, digitalization and online publishing of the Jewish musical heritage
Creation of an edition body (CD, sheet music…)
Regular organization of various events (music workshops, conferences, concerts…) to valorize the Jewish music heritage under all its aspects
Creation of a festival of Jewish Music in Paris and its region (not yet fulfilled)
Creation of a European network of Jewish music centers, with the organization every 3-4 years of the European Days of Jewish Music (not yet fulfilled)
In September 2012, the EIJM moves to rue Nationale in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, and pursues its missions at a larger scale.
In 2016, the EIJM celebrated its 10th anniversary. Its musical collections gather today nearly 80.000 music files, 150.000 music sheets, thousands of pictures, videos and various archives (letters, concert programs…). These documents are entirely or partly accessible in the Institute or online on the RACHEL catalogue. The EIJM’s website, showcase of the Institute, attracts nearly 100.000 visitors each year. Finally, the EIJM organizes each year its great gala concert, as well as various events, in partnership with the most important Jewish (FSJU, MAHJ, AIU, Institut Elie Wiesel…) and non-Jewish (Festival d’Ile-de-France, Mairie de Paris…) institutions.