Ernest Bloch is one of the enigmatic figures in twentieth-century music. He neither joined nor founded any school of composition (though a number of important composers in the United States today were his pupils); he was much acclaimed during periods of his life, especially in the 1920s and 30s; but since the last World War his popularity has suffered a steady decline, with but rare flashes of resuscitation. Though born in Switzerland in 1880, and spending much of his creative life (until his death in 1959) in the USA, it is as the ‘Jewish composer’ that he is most often acknowledged. This has in turn caused a reaction in the minds of those who feel that Bloch's appeal, so far from circumscribed, is universal. But universality depends upon quality rather than heredity; ‘Jewishness’ and universal appeal are in no way mutually exclusive.