New look for Gesher Music Festival

The Jewish Community Center’s Gesher Music Festival will open its fifth season Aug. 13, with 10 days of programming that explores ways in which art and music can flourish in the face of oppression and bigotry. The festival’s theme, “Degenerates,” hopes audiences will discover the creativity that thrived during one of history’s darkest eras.

This year will also feature a series of three distinct concerts, each in a different venue. Additionally there is an opportunity to “Meet the Musicians” as they perform some of their personal favorite pieces at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Opening the festival Sunday, Aug. 16 is Rebecca Joy Fletcher, performing a special cabaret created expressly for Gesher, “Grit & Glamour: A Night of European-Jewish Kabarett,” which celebrates this brilliant art form between the wars.

Adding to the performance venues this year, Gesher is partnering with the Missouri History Museum to present Degenerate Music as part of the Museum’s ongoing “State of Deception” exhibit showing how the Nazis used Propaganda for nefarious purposes. The concert being performed there (Thursday, Aug. 20) is music by composers the Nazis deemed “degenerate” (as they did with certain artists). Other programs this year include a concert on Saturday, Aug. 22 at the 560 Music Center in University City Center, “From Degenerate to Hollywood” and on Sunday, August 23 at the JCC’s Wool Studio Theatre, “Voices From Imprisonment.”  As in past years, Festival musicians will be part of a Shabbat service at Central Reform Congregation. 

An added opportunity this year is a free and exclusive Gesher Festival docent let tour through the “Degenerate Art” of the St. Louis Art Museum’s collections. Sign up online at 

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

The JCC’s Gesher Music Festival presented by the Silk Foundation brings the intimate form of chamber music to the community in a week-long program featuring professional musicians from throughout the country as well as local musicians, including a member of the St. Louis Symphony. 

Nightly concert details are available at and Tickets are $20 for concerts and $30 for opening event and may be purchased online or by calling the box office, 314-442-3283.