All workshops held at JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA 94709 [Directions] [MAP]
10:00-11:30 am — Workshops Session 1
INSTRUMENTAL: Learn Easy Klezmer Tunes by Ear, with Mike Perlmutter & Dmitri Gaskin
Participants will learn a few klezmer tunes (the number depending on the pace of the class) by ear through exposure to source recordings and live instruction from Mike (clarinet) and Dmitri (accordion). We will discuss strategies for learning/memorizing tunes using analysis, comparison, theory, and visualization. All instruments welcome. Sheet music will be provided at the end of the workshop. Resources for the class are available HERE.
INSTRUMENTAL: Master Class*** for Instrumentalists and Bands, with Cookie Segelstein, Joshua Horowitz, & Stu Brotman
The teachers will examine virtually every aspect of your performance and give a makeover, including details of arrangement, communication, stage choreography and style minutiae, as well as the unspoken issues that affect working and playing musicians. Individuals and bands may sign up and prepare something to perform: something you love, something you're proud of, or something you're just working on. (NOTE: There’s another Master Class for instrumentalists in Workshops Session #2)
INSTRUMENTAL (advanced): Learn to Transcribe and Play Insanely Difficult Music From Recordings, with Stephen Saxon
The instructor will bring sample recordings and transcriptions for study in class to illustrate how you can wrap your mind around parts that are currently beyond you, and then grow into being able to play them well. Participants are welcome to bring recordings of pieces or sections of pieces that they’d like to have transcribed in class, with the results provided as a PDF to all participants. This is not a playing class, but will focus on analysis and understanding recorded music. We'll also address practice techniques and strategies.
SINGING: The Brodersingers — Straight Outta Brody, with Jeanette Lewicki
Learn about the 19th-century wandering Yiddish singers, out-of-work wedding jesters, runaway widows, and choirboys-gone-bad who invented Yiddish theater in underground pubs and wine gardens. Some really were from Brody (now in Ukraine); most just claimed to be. With readings, song samples, stories, and sing-alongs.
FOR FAMILIES AND FOR KIDS: Tam — Taste of Yiddish Culture, with Gerry Tenney
Activities will include reading Yiddish stories in translation, learning some words and phrases in Yiddish, singing simple Yiddish songs, and a bisl klezmer dance. Kids who play (portable) instruments should bring them. Kids under 6 are welcome with an adult. Kids 6-12 are welcome alone (with an adult elsewhere at the Festival). Kids under 6 are welcome with an adult. This workshop is free for kids and accompanying adults.
LECTURE: The World of Our Great-Grandparents — History of Eastern European Jewry, with Ken Blady
Learn about the origins of Eastern European Jewry, including the Khazar theory, development of the Yiddish language, the culture of the shtetl, Chemielnitzky pogroms, Hasidim vs. Misnagdim, the haskoleh (Jewish enlightenment), chafing under tsars and commissars, & poverty, pogroms, and the stampede to America.
1:30-3:00 pm — Workshops Session 2
INSTRUMENTAL: How to Groove in a Klezmer Jam, with Stu Brotman
Stu will help participants know how to navigate a jam session, dealing with concepts such as courtesy, strengths and weaknesses, flexible hierarchies, and finding your way when you don’t know the tune. Handouts: What's a Slow Jam? What's a Pro Jam?
INSTRUMENTAL: Master Class*** for Instrumentalists and Bands, with Cookie Segelstein & Stephen Saxon
Veretski Pass fiddler Cookie Segelstein, and the versatile trumpeter/cantor Stephen Saxon, who played with The Klezmorim in the mid-1980’s, are the musical guides of this master class. Bring prepared pieces or tunes in progress and an open mind as Cookie and Stephen offer constructive advice on all aspects of your performance. Individuals and bands may sign up. (NOTE: There’s another Master Class for instrumentalists in Workshops Session #1)
INSTRUMENTAL (advanced): How to Make a Tune Sound Jewish?, with David Chernyavsky
Using the example of the Beregovski tunes that come just as bare notes without any ornamentation or harmony, we will examine how to harmonize, choose the ornamentation, develop an arrangement, and combine them into medleys. Bring your instruments.
SINGING: Discover the Yiddish Character of Your Voice, with Heather Klein
From the shtetl to Shabes, from Yiddish theater to the recital hall, learn how to change the sound of your voice to engage the audience and suit the needs of the character in your song. Sound different at every performance! Learn tricks and skills to use at specific performances or just for fun. If you have a song to sing, even one you are just learning, we will use it as an example. If not, we will practice these skills in some songs you know and some you don't!
POETRY: Responding to Music with Poetry, with Jake Marmer, accompanied by Jim Rebhan
What do you do while listening to music? Watch the musicians? Dance in your seat and let the mind drift? Probably all of the above; but music — especially music as lively and historically poignant as klezmer — demands a response, begs for a more intense engagement. Poetry is a mode of close listening, of responding to music with all you've got. This poetry workshop will dip into rich traditions of music-inspired creative writing
think jazz poetry!
and propose new ways to engage with the music, perhaps creating a new language of klezmer poetry. We'll experiment, listen, and write. No previous experience with poetry necessary!
DANCING: Yiddish Theater Choreography — The Beggar’s Dance from “The Dybbuk,” with Bruce Bierman
Join director/choreographer Bruce Bierman in recreating the iconic Beggar's Dance and the Dance of Death from S. Ansky's seminal play, "The Dybbuk," first produced in Yiddish in 1920. The great Jewish dancer and choreographer Felix Fibich and his dancer wife Judith Berg created the choreography for the 1937 Yiddish film version (youtube.com/watch?v=9PHHqclQPsE). We will use recordings from the haunting score that the Klezmatics created for an adaptation of Ansky's play.
3:15-4:45 pm — Workshops Session 3
INSTRUMENTAL: Balkan/Klezmer Roots and Connections, with Dan Cantrell
Learn about shared rhythms, scales and stylistic qualities by analyzing and performing tunes from Balkan, klezmer, and Romani traditions. Spice up your klezmer sound with some fun regional ornamentation! Learn some tricks and tools to make your currently material more dynamic, while jamming on some great new songs!
INSTRUMENTAL: Transforming Klezmer Tunes to Blues, Reggae, Jazz, and Beyond, a.k.a. Moish's musical mish-mosh mashup), with Mikel "Moish" Estrin
We will be genre bending and morphing klezmer and other Jewish scales, modes and harmonies. We'll discuss the arrangement and harmonic styles of klezmer compared with some other musical genres (blues, reggae, swing jazz, classical, hip hop). Then we'll run through some familiar klezmer and Yiddish songs reinterpreted in different idioms. Open to all instruments and vocalists.
INSTRUMENTAL (advanced): Line-Spinning — How to Create Melodic Variations from Almost Nothing, with Joshua Horowitz
We will use the “Simon says” method in this crash course in melodic variation and improvisation, demonstrating an exhaustive array of typical motives used for beginnings, transitions, cadences, fills, and modulations to spin out variations.
SINGING: Master Class*** for Singers: Polish and Shine Your Stage Presence and Performance, with Sharon Bernstein
Individuals and choruses may sign up and prepare something to perform: something you love, something you're proud of, or something you're working on. We'll discuss elements of song interpretation and performance such as musical expression, different vocal styles (folk, pop, theater, classical), presentation, musical arrangements, tempo, rhythm, pronunciation, and more! Sign up in advance [firstname.lastname@example.org] to be one of the participants, or come to listen, learn, and enjoy!
STORIES & RECORDINGS: What Is This Music Called Klezmer?, with Andy Muchin
What is this music called klezmer (which used to be called “European Jewish wedding music,” while “klezmer” referred to a musician)? Join Jewish radio host and arts writer Andy Muchin for a lively session of history, anecdotes, and most importantly, recordings that demonstrate important klezmer characteristics, highlight the most valuable klezmorim (musicians), and identify the songs that every klezmer meyvin should know. Spoiler alert: The Bay Area plays a crucial role in the American klezmer story.
DANCING: The Joy of Yiddish Dance, with Bruce Bierman, accompanied by Jim Rebhan
Discover golden gems of the Hasidik and klezmer dance repertoire that are sure to lift your spirits and connect you to the joyous and soulful music of the Ashkenazic Jews. Made for the folk by the folk, the freylekhs, shers, zhoks, and khosidls are less concerned with elaborate footwork and more with swirling circles, snaking lines, square dances, and varying patterns on the dance floor that create immediate connection and massive amounts of joy. You are invited to follow the Dance Master, but encouraged to shine with your own unique individual expression. All ages and experiences welcome.
*** For all Master Classes: You must sign up in advance to participate in a Master Class (as distinguished from attending in the "audience"), regardless of whether you buy a Pass, pay at the door, receive a scholarship, etc. We will organize these classes in advance, so please send your name, band/group/chorus name (if you are participating as a group), instrument(s) or voice, and which of the three Master Classes to info[at]klezcalifornia.org. Come prepared to perform one or more pieces.