Nina Stepanskaya (1954–2007)

 

Educator, ethnomusicologist


Nina Stepanskaya, Associate Professor of the Department of Music History of the Belarusian State Academy of Music, teacher of the Republican educational complex Gymnasium - College at BSAM. She was an outstanding experimental teacher and innovator in professional music education. She has brought up a galaxy of students, including art critics, laureates of international competitions, heads of musicology departments of music universities. Her most important achievement is the creation of an academic class for Jewish music. She attracted bright young musicologists to the study and preservation of an invaluable layer of Jewish culture.

Biography (click to view...)
Working with individual undergraduate and graduate students, Nina Stepanskaya developed several courses on Jewish musical tradition, one of which was taught as an optional course at the Department of Music History of the Belarusian State Academy of Music for several years. The center of scientific interests of N. S. Stepanskaya is the music of the Jews Eastern Europe and the history of 20th century music. She is the author of pioneering scientific developments in the systematics of Jewish music, khazanut (cantorial synagogue art) and Yiddish song.

The outstanding legacy of Nina Samuilovna Stepanskaya is the materials of the expeditions across Belarus, conducted in 2001-2006 together with her student and colleague Dmitry Slepovich. Thanks to intensive field work, it was possible to record and preserve the last evidence of the musical tradition of the Litvak Jews (Jews of Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia).

She was an outstanding experimenter and innovator in professional music education of middle and higher levels, has brought up a glorious galaxy of students, among whom are candidates of art history, laureates of international competitions, heads of musicology departments of the best music universities, including far beyond the borders of Belarus.

Her most important achievement is the creation of an academic class for Jewish music. She attracted bright young musicologists to the study and preservation of an invaluable layer of Jewish culture. In 2006, under her leadership, she defended her Ph.D. thesis on Jewish instrumental (klezmer) music-making in Eastern Europe. Working with individual undergraduate and graduate students, Nina Stepanskaya developed several courses on the Jewish musical tradition, one of which was taught as an optional course at the Department of Music History of the Belarusian State Academy of Music for several years.

"The historical process of the development of Jewish music in Europe demonstrates the connection of two trends: a heightened sense of time in its stages and a powerful awareness of the stability of the traditional principles of sound creation." (The last lines written by N. Stepanskaya for her new work)

Nina Samuilovna Stepanskaya was buried in Tel Aviv at the Yarkon cemetery.