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Convenors

Guy Schalom
Merlin Shepherd
Ilana Cravitz
Ros Hawley
Francesca Ter-Berg
Polina Shepherd


Guy Schalom (London, percussion)

Guy Schalom is one of the most in-demand klezmer drummers in Europe as well as specializing in contemporary Egyptian Jazz/Arabic style through his band Baladi Blues. He has a busy touring schedule and has worked with the likes of Frank London, The Klezmatics, Moshe Berlin, Josh ‘SoCalled’ Dolgin, Michael Alpert, Susan Watts and David Krakauer. He is a founder member of the pan-European Klezmer Alliance as well Ukrainian Village Brass Band Konsonans Retro featuring Berlin's Christian Dawid.  Guy also runs his own duo Schalom-Bakhshayesh featuring the expressive violin playing and singing Jilah Bakhshayesh. Guy is an experienced dance leader and teacher running Hopkele’s across the UK throughout the year.

Merlin Shepherd (Brighton, clarinet, saxophone)

Merlin is a clarinettist who specialises in the Jewish instrumental folk music of Eastern Europe commonly known as "Klezmer”. Merlin has been Musical Director for The Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London. He was also Klezmer Advisor for the Royal Shakespeare Company for their 1992 production of Anski's ‘The Dybbuk’. He works as Music Co-ordinator for KlezKamp, KlezFest London and taught at KlezFest St Petersburg, KlezFest Ukraine and KlezKanada. He is one of the world's leading players of traditional East European Klezmer Clarinet style, and apart from his own ensembles, such as the Merlin Shepherd Kapelye and his Sound and Light Duo with singer and pianist Polina Shepherd, he has worked and toured throughout Britain and Europe with Budowitz, Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars and the Burning Bush.

Ilana Cravitz (London, violin)

Ilana has introduced hundreds of people of all ages to klezmer through courses and workshops at universities and conservatoires, and at events like the Genius of the Violin Festival and Fiddles on Fire. She specialises in organising and performing in klezmer keilidhs under the banner ‘Hopkele’, and also enjoys forays into the world of Sephardic music, Flamenco, and Celtic fiddling. Ilana studied baroque violin at postgraduate level at the Royal College of Music, and has toured and recorded with the European Union Baroque Orchestra, The Sixteen, and Victoria Voices and Viols. Her book 'Klezmer Fiddle - a how-to guide' is published by Oxford University Press.

Ros Hawley (Manchester, clarinet, education)

Described by the Guardian as ‘one of the UK’s leading klezmer clarinettists’ ,originally classically trained at the RNCM and GSMD, Ros studied Klezmer music as part of a Masters degree at SOAS, University of London. In 2010 she undertook a research project studying the Klezmer tradition and repertoire played at the annual festival of Meron, Israel, studying the work of Musa Berlin and the research of Joel Rubin. She has studied with many of the world's imminent klezmer clarinetists, including Kurt Bjorling, Merlin Shepherd and Christian David in the USA, Germany and UK and is active in promoting, performing and developing the field of klezmer music education, particularly with a focus to development in the northwest. She has given many workshops and enthused countless individuals in performances with the duo Klezmer Gourmets  alongside the late violinist Michael Kahan, and continues to perform with her new band, The Manchester Simcha Band, and duo  Deli Babies, who won awards for promoting Klezmer music in the northwest in 2007 & 2008.  Ros advises local musicians in their development of the annual Kleznorth weekend and currently helps to develop, through performances and workshops, an annual programme of Klezmer events at  Imperial War Museum North as part of their Holocaust and Refugee awareness programmes.

Francesca Ter-Berg (London, cello)

Francesca is an explorer of musical genres, from klezmer to Indian classical music, Arabic Maqam to Jazz and Gypsy music. She has studied across the world with renowned musicians, most recently the legendary Manouche maestro Tcha Limberger. In London, Francesca performs regularly with klezmer duo Kavona, Kora player Mosi Conde, and master Oud player Ahmed Mukhtar. In 2009/10 she has performed in venues ranging from major concert halls - including the Royal Festival Hall - to summer music festivals such as Glastonbury. Current projects include performing and arranging albums for folk singers Katy Carr and Sam Lee, as well as freestyler Riz MC. Francesca works as Outreach Officer for the Jewish Music Institute based at SOAS University of London. In 2010 Francesca established the SOAS Klezmer Ensemble which she co-runs with a team of instrumentalists and singers.

Polina Shepherd (Brighton, voice, piano)

Born in Siberia, and now based in Brighton, Polina Shepherd (Skovoroda) is an internationally renowned composer, singer, pianist and a celebrated Yiddish and Russian choir leader.  She has performed with ‘Simcha’, Russia′s first klezmer band after Perestroika, (1990-2000), is the leader of an internationally known Quartet Ashkenazim (1991-2007), sings with the remix artist Max Pashm (2006-7) and engages in many other projects. The most recent project is Polina’s original songs with a Brighton based brass band Fanfara. Polina also leads and the UCL East European choir alongside Eugenia Georgieva as well as the Brighton Yiddish choir.