Dr. Assaf Shelleg, a musicologist and pianist, is a senior lecturer of Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was previously the Schusterman Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology and Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia (2011-14), and had taught prior to that as the visiting Efroymson Scholar in the Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department at Washington University in St. Louis (2009-11).
Shelleg specializes in twentieth-century Jewish and Israeli art musics and has published in some of the leading journals in both musicology and Israel Studies on topics ranging from the historiography of modern Jewish art music to the theological networks of Israeli art music. Shelleg’s book, Jewish Contiguities and the Soundtrack of Israeli History, was published in November 2014 by Oxford University Press. The book studies the emergence of modern Jewish art music in central and Western Europe (1910s-1930s) and its translocation to Palestine/Israel (1930s-1970s), exposing the legacies of European antisemitism and religious Judaism in the making of Israeli art music. Considering the dislocation of modern Jewish art music, the book examines the paradoxes embedded in a Zionist national culture whose rhetoric negated its past, only to mask the process of hybridizations enchained by older legacies. Jewish Contiguities recently won the 2015 Engle Prize for the Study of Hebrew Music. Shelleg is also a regular musical contributor to the Haaretz newspaper.