AboutSamuel Torjman Thomas is an ethnomusicologist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer working from within Jazz and North African-Middle Eastern traditions. As artistic director of the New York Andalus Ensemble and ASEFA, he journeys through a lush Mediterranean garden of songs in Hebrew, Arabic, Ladino, and Spanish, highlighting intercultural exchange in the expressive musical arts of the region. His work brings audiences into worlds of Jewish song traditions – Sephardi piyyutim (poetry), wordless Chassidic niggunim, Klezmer music and dance, and liturgy.
Dr. Torjman Thomas teaches music, interdisciplinary studies, and Sephardic Studies at the City University of New York, including courses on world music, American vernacular musics and jazz history, religious studies, ethnic studies, and diaspora studies. He is a frequent guest speaker at cultural institutions, universities, and in multi-denominational ecumenical spaces worldwide.
EducationBachelor of Music, Performance, Berklee College of Music
Bachelor of Music, Jazz Composition, Berklee College of Music
MPhil, Ethnomusicology, City University of New York-Graduate Center
Ph.D, Ethnomusicology, City University of New York-Graduate Center
2016 “The Virtues of the Shleuḥ: Celebrating the Amazigh Contribution to Jewish Music and Identity.” Sephardi Ideas Monthly. April.
2015 “Seeking the Saint, Finding Community: Celebrating the Hillula of Baba Sali.” Chapter in Religious Diversity Today: Experiencing Religion in the Contemporary World. Volume Two: Ritual and Pilgrimage. Anastasia Panagakos, editor. Praeger Publishers: Santa Barbara.
2013 “Kriat ha-Torah in the Maroka’i Synagogues of Brooklyn: Negotiating New Boundaries of Diaspora Identity” Journal of Synagogue Music (38) 146-162.
2012 “Mediterranean Israeli Music and the Politics of the Aesthetic.” Book Review, Sephardic Horizons Online (2/1).
2010 “Maqām and Liturgy: Ritual, Music, and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn.” Book Review, Oral History Review (37/2) 328-330.
2010 “Salim Halali” and “Martial Solal.” The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. L eiden:Brill.
MembershipsSEM, AJS, AAA