The Sillamy Collection

Born on July 24, 1932 in Algiers and deceased on July 9, 2016 in Ajaccio (Corsica), Jean-Claude Sillamy was a French musicologist and composer of stage music, sacred music and films music. Specialized in antique music (Sumer, Babylon, Mesopotamia…), he published several books and studies dedicated notably to Jewish music. (Essai de reconstitution de la musique de la Bible, 1957 ; La musique dans l’ancien Orient (2 tomes), 1986 ; La musique des communautés juives d’Afrique du Nord, 1987 ; Le principe de la modulation dans le fragment babylonien d’Ur : U.7/80 (XVIIIème siècle av. J.C.) (à partir d’un instrument de l’époque non identifié : le « gis za mi », 1991). His archives, given in November 2016 by his widow Lina Sillamy, comprise approximately 80 documents (discs, field recordings, articles, books, pictures…) which can not be seen elsewhere for most of them.

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In detail, the Sillamy Collection gathers:

  • 27 discs, among them traditionnal music (Judeo Arab, Sefardi, antique Greece, Jewish, Israeli…), music inspired from the Bible (Die Musik der Bibel : in der tradition althebräischer Melodien, Morasha : Traditional Jewish Musical Heritage…), classical music with some of Sillamy’s own compositions (Bloch : Concerto pour violon et orchestre, L’Arche d’Alliance / Kaddisch de J-C Sillamy), and etnomusicological recordings (Taamims and prayers in several rituals).
  • 26 books and articles in French, English and Italian.
  • 19 music scores of classical, litugical (Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies d’Abraham Zwi Idelsohn), traditional music and some of his compositions,
  • 11 archives various archives (pictures, programs, biography…)

These archives are now available for consultation on the online catalog of our collections (browse the Jean-Claude Sillamy collection) or by making an appointment with the European Institute of Jewish Music (contact@iemj.org)

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