For the past thirty years, Alexander Knapp has published articles and lectured on ethnomusicology world-wide. He is a composer, arranger, conductor, broadcaster on radio and television, and performer. He has been a consultant and accompanist to cantors and choirs recording Jewish music.
In 1992, Alexander was appointed the first Joe Loss Research Fellow in Jewish Music at City University, London. In 1993, he was invited to present the first-ever series of lectures on Jewish music at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He returned to China in 1994 and 1996 for additional lectures. His anthology of essays on Jewish music published by the Music Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Arts in 1998 is the first and only book in the Chinese language devoted exclusively to aspects of Jewish music.
Knapp’s lecture series for Spring 2001 at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies includes three categories: Jewish Music, Arabic Music and Miscellaneous. Among the many topics listed for Jewish Music, we find Temple Chant: Before and After, Jewish Music in the First Century, The Golden Age of the Cantor, The Life and Music of Ernest Bloch, and The Music of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley.
"Arabic Music" consists of a ten-session course covering geography, history, society and general culture, religion, sacred and secular vocal music, voice production and performance practice, solo instrumental music, melodic and rhythmic modes, dance, form, improvisation, composition, acculturation and interculturalism, modern developments, and popular styles.
Under "Miscellaneous," Knapp lists Aspects of Performing Arts and Ritual in Present-Day Buryatia (Eastern Siberia), Music From Around the World, Communicating through the Musical Score, and Musical Transcription.
All this is backed up with a dry wit and sparkling eyes. It might not seem so, but the audience is in for a real treat.