BERNSTEIN, SHARON

 
(Berkeley)
Vocalist and pianist Sharon Jan Bernstein lived in New York, Jerusalem, and Italy before returning home to the Bay Area, where she serves as the Cantor of San Francisco’s Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. She has presented her rare Yiddish repertoire in Europe, Israel and the U.S. in venues including the Ancona Jewish Music Festival, RAI National Italian Radio, Yung Yidish, Habimah Theatre Jerusalem, Berkeley Jewish Music Festival, World Congress of Jewish Studies, Makor, Center for Jewish History and the 92nd Street Y. She has taught Yiddish song in Jerusalem, Vilnius Summer Yiddish Program and at previous KlezCalifornia events. Her repertoire mixes less-known or never-performed songs (most notably from the Noy Collection) with new compositions such as those by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, organized according to subtle and captivating themes. Her “delightfully clear voice” (J. Pinnolis, jmwc.org) can be heard in Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman’s Af Di Gasn Fun Der Shtot (2003). See SharonBernstein.com
 

BIERMAN, BRUCE


(Berkeley)
Bruce Bierman is a core staff member of the Stagebridge Theater Company and Performing Arts Institute serving older adults, and recently opened the first Stagebridge branch in Los Angeles at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. He is also a well-known Jewish dance teacher and leader in the Bay Area, L.A,. and beyond, and has studied Yiddish dance with some of the best teachers in the country, including Steve Weintraub, Deborah Strauss, Michael Alpert and Felix Fibich. Bruce was a principal performer with the internationally renowned Aman Folk Ensemble. His theatre credits include: Actor: St. Joan (South Coast Repertory), Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare Santa Cruz), Mad Woman of Chaillot (Odyssey Theater Ensemble), Man of La Mancha, Time of Your Life, The Music Man (Saddleback Summer Stock); Playwright/Director: Gimpel the Fool (U.C. Santa Cruz), Wade in the Water (Odyssey Theater Ensemble), The Passion of Carmen (Celebration Theater), The Blue Dress (New Conservatory Theater); Choreographer: Fiddler on the Roof (Mountain View Performing Arts Center), Urinetown (Julia Morgan Theater), Sylvia (Ashby Stage). Bruce directed and choreographed Di Megileh of Itzik Manger for the 2014 Jewish Music Festival.    
 

BROTMAN, STU


(Berkeley) Stu Brotman is an internationally-known multi-instrumentalist who plays the string bass, basy (cello), tilinca (shepherd’s flute) and baraban (Jewish bass drum). He has been a moving force in the klezmer revival, produced the Klezmorim’s Grammy-nominated album Metropolis, and has performed with the Klezmorim, Kapelye, Andy Statman, Klezmer Conservatory Band, Veretski Pass, and Itzhak Perlman. He has recorded, toured, and taught New Jewish Music with world-class ensemble Brave Old World since 1989. Lately, Stu performs most often as a member of Veretski Pass (with Joshua Horowitz and Cookie Segelstein). See VeretskiPass.com
 

GHOST NOTE ENSEMBLE

 
The Ghost Note Ensemble is a village band of psychic friends who play traditional folk music from central and Eastern Europe: Jack Hanley (mandolin and poyk), Mattias Kaufmann (bayan), Joshua Laurenzi (fidl), Anna Schlosser (guitar).
 

HOROWITZ, JOSH

 

(Berkeley) Joshua Horowitz, tsimbl, button accordion, piano, received his Masters degree in Composition and Music Theory from the Academy of Music in Graz, Austria, where he taught Music Theory and served for eight years as Research Fellow and Director of the Klezmer Music Research Project. He is founder and director of the ensemble Budowitz and has performed and recorded with Adrienne Cooper, Theodore Bikel, Itzhak Perlman, The Vienna Chamber Orchestra,  Brave Old World and Joel Rubin. Joshua taught Advanced Jazz Theory at Stanford University with the late saxophonist Stan Getz and is a regular teacher at KlezKamp, The Albuquerque Academy and KlezKanada. His musicological work is featured in four books, including “The Sephardic Songbook” with Aron Saltiel and “The Ultimate Klezmer.” He has written numerous articles on the counterpoint of J.S. Bach, and he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the honorary prize for his orchestral composition, Tenebrae, awarded by the Austrian government. Josh recently composed the chamber opera, “Lilith The Night Demon In One Lewd Act,” along with his colleagues in Veretski Pass, and is currently touring it in North America and Europe. See VeretskiPass.com



 

LEWICKI, JEANETTE

 
(Oakland) Vocalist and accordionist Jeanette Lewicki was orphaned young, without a dowry or family background, and did what she had to do to learn Yiddish and klezmer accordion. She picked up accordion at the vegan commune where she grew up (in her twenties), and studied Yiddish in New York at Columbia University, as well as in Europe. Jeanette has produced numerous acclaimed recordings including Mayn Shtetele Soroke (with Bessarabian Yiddish singer Arkady Gendler) and Fli Mayn Flishlang (Yiddish children’s songs by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman). She is the featured accordionist and Yiddish singer of the Klez-X, has played with Pablo Aslan and Jenny Scheinman on Jenny Levison’s Yiddish Tango project, and leads The Gonifs Klezmer Band, whose breakout recording is on Porto Franco Records. Jeanette loves to teach, and most recently co-taught with Arkady Gendler at Yiddish Summer Weimar, the groundbreaking Yiddish culture workshop directed by Dr. Alan Bern. See MadamLevitsky.com

KLEZCALIFORNIA ALL-STARS


Musical entertainment before the Saturday night concert will be provided by Peter Bonos (euphonium), Tony Phillips (mandolin), Jim Rebhan (accordion; see below), Barbara Speed (clarinet), and Gerry Tenney (mandola; see below).

 

MARMER, JAKE


 

(Stanford) Jake Marmer is a poet and performer. His recent jazz-poetry album “Hermeneutic Stomp” (Blue Thread Music, 2013) features jazz-klezmer luminaries and brings together diverse poetic and musical traditions, as well as new and ancient improvisation techniques. It was hailed as a “soulful narrative line in counterpoint to… language-drunk abstractions” (The Jewish Week), “experience of mystic pleasures… freshly contemporary” (Shofar), and a “thought provoking debut” (All About Jazz). Jake’s poetry collection, “Jazz Talmud” was published by the Sheep Meadow Press in 2012. In the off-hours, he’s working on the doctoral dissertation for the CUNY Graduate Center. He frequently contributes to the Forward and Tablet Magazine, and is a co-founder of North America’s first Jewish Poetry retreat at KlezKanada Festival. In 2008-2009 he was a Dorot Fellow in Jerusalem. Jake teaches at Kehillah High School in Palo Alto, and lives in Stanford with his wife and two children. See JakeMarmer.wordpress.com

 

REBHAN, JIM


(El Cerrito) Accordionist Jim Rebhan has been a mainstay of the San Francisco Bay Area klezmer scene. He has performed with the Ellis Island Old World Folk Band since 1980, and has been a longtime member of California Klezmer, recording with both groups. He is the son of Jewish immigrants who left Europe in the late 1930’s (and who met in English language school) and grew up listening to Yiddish songs at home. His first accordion teachers were Italian immigrants in Chicago, and he has studied klezmer accordion with Alan Bern (Brave Old World) and Lauren Brody (Mikveh). Jim majored in music at the University of Chicago and has a Masters in Composition from California Institute of the Arts. He has taught at Living Traditions’ KlezKamp West and at KlezCalifornia festivals. In addition to the piano accordion, Jim performs on drums and xylophone. See Musikers.com and CaliforniaKlezmer.com

 

RUBIN, JOEL


(Charlottesville, Virginia, and Buenzen, Switzerland) Joel Rubin has been one of the leading figures in the international klezmer movement as a performer, scholar, author and educator for the past thirty years, earning accolades from sources as diverse as klezmer giants Dave Tarras and Max Epstein, and avant-garde composer John Zorn. He has published on improvisation and ornamentation, done ethnographic work among the oldest surviving generation of American klezmer musicians, co-authored three books, co-curated and/or recorded numerous CDs, and performed throughout Europe, North America and Asia. He is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Music Performance in the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia, where he is also on Jewish Studies faculty. Rubin has worked and performed with Veretski Pass, the Festival’s other headliner. Veretski Pass member Joshua Horowitz wrote: “Joel’s playing is so full of nuance and variation, that you forget you’re listening to folk music, even though he is entrenched in the tradition. His playing has spawned an entire ‘school’ of klezmer clarinet, championed by the best players in the scene. It was clear to everyone who heard him that this was the future of the genre.” See JoelRubinKlezmer.com

 

RUSSELL, ANTHONY (Mordechai Tzvi)

 
(Oakland) Anthony (Mordechai Tzvi) Russell has worked primarily in the field of opera for the past fifteen years, culminating in a professional debut with the San Francisco Opera Company. More recently, Anthony has devoted himself to the recital repertoire of Sidor Belarsky (1898–1975), one of the twentieth century’s most prolific performers of cantorial music, Chassidic nigunim and Yiddish art song. Anthony’s work in Yiddish has brought him to the JCC in Manhattan, Symphony Space, Ideacity Conference in Toronto, KlezKanada, the Montreal and Berkeley Jewish Music Festivals and, this year, as a returning featured performer at the Ashkenaz Festival, a week-long celebration of Jewish arts in Toronto. Anthony lives with his fiancé, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, in Oakland. See sites.google.com/site/anthonyrussellbass/

 

SAFRAN, GABRIELLA 

 

(Mountain View) Gabriella Safran is a professor of Russian and Yiddish literature at Stanford; she belongs to the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and chairs the Division of Literature, Cultures, and Languages. Her first book, “Rewriting the Jew; Assimilation Narratives in the Russian Empire” (Stanford, 2000), won three book prizes. She co-edited the volume “The Worlds of S. An-sky: A Russian-Jewish Intellectual at the Turn of the Century” (Stanford, 2006). Her biography of the Russian and Yiddish writer, ethnographer, and revolutionary An-sky is “Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator, S. An-sky” (Harvard University Press, 2010). Now she is working on a set of projects about how Jews and Russians speak and listen.


SAUL GOODMAN'S KLEZMER BAND

 
Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band comes from a musical tradition tracing back to the old world shtetl of Szrensk. Incorporating post-immigrant sounds rooted in klezmer, Saul Goodman’s music moves the spirit and the dance. It’s always a simkheh with Saul! Featuring Dmitri Gaskin, accordion; Jack Hanley, poyk, mandolin; Mike Perlmutter, clarinet, saxophone; Dave Rosenfeld, mandolin, violin, percussion; Ilana Sherer, violin.

See itsallgoodman.com



 

SEGELSTEIN, COOKIE


 

(Berkeley) Cookie Segelstein, violin and viola, received a Masters degree in Viola from The Yale School of Music in 1984. She was principal violist in Orchestra New England and assistant principal in The New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She is founder and director of Veretski Pass, and a member of Budowitz and of The Youngers of Zion with Henry Sapoznik. She has presented lecture/demonstrations and workshops on klezmer fiddling all over the world. She also has been on staff at Living Traditions’ KlezKamp, KlezKanada, and KlezCalifornia festivals. She has performed with numerous notables including Kapelye, The Klezmatics, Frank London, and The Klezmer Conservatory Band, and Veretski Pass.

 

TENNEY, GERRY


(Oakland) Gerry Tenney is a children’s entertainer, musician and teacher, singer of Yiddish songs, and leader of the band California Klezmer. In 2002, 2004, and 2006 he was Musical Director for two Yiddish-oriented plays put on by San Francisco State University’s Drama and Jewish Studies Departments. He directed the Jewish Music Festival in its early years and was a main organizer of the first klezmer camp in California (KlezKamp West) in 1989. For ten years, he hosted the Gershn YanklShow on KPFA. He has led and performed children’s music at many klezmer music camps in New York, West Virginia and California, as well as at other Jewish children’s camps. Gerry has worked with children for more than forty years. He was director and music teacher of the East Bay Kindershul, the only kids’ school (grades K-8) in the Bay Area that emphasized Yiddish culture. Gerry taught sociology at the City College of New York, 1967–1972. A descendant of the Shpielman family of the Kolymea klezmorim, Gerry is an almost-fluent Yiddish speaker and President of KlezCalifornia.  See CaliforniaKlezmer.com

VERETSKI PASS


 
(Berkeley)
This trio of  Cookie Segelstein, Josh Horowitz, and Stu Brotman,offers a unique combination of virtuosic musicianship and raw energy that has excited concertgoers across the world. The trio plays Old Country Music with origins in the Ottoman Empire, once fabled as the borderlands of the East and the West. In a true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Romanian and Ottoman styles, typical suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Romania; Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia; and haunting Rebetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with original compositions. Their CDs have repeatedly been on the 10-best recording lists of journalists. The group recently presented their magical folk opera, “Lilith the Night Demon in One Lewd Act,” in collaboration with the San Francisco Choral Artists. See VeretskiPass.com