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JMI’s Klezfest 2022 – Learn Klezmer, Play Klezmer


Sunday 3rd April 2022 Thursday 7th April 2022

Sunday: Registration from 5pm, Jam session from 6pm
Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm, plus concerts and jam session.

We are very happy to announce that our world famous Klezmer school will be back again for 2022.

Delve into the wonderful world of klezmer with an incredible team of teachers at the helm to inspire you to explore this celebratory, soulful and melodic music from nineteeth century Jewish Eastern Europe.

Go at your own pace, learn great tunes and gain knowledge of the modes, ornamentation, rhythms and accompaniment that give klezmer its unique flavour. Play in small ensembles, be part of the Klezfest Orchestra and learn tips and tricks on your instrument to play in a klezmer style. There will also be a faculty concert and plenty of opportunity for jamming in the evenings.

This is a course for everyone who plays an instrument and wants to go deeper into learning about klezmer style. We welcome people who are new to klezmer, but you will need a good grasp of your instrument in order to participate. The course will be taught by ear as well as using the dots and there will be opportunities to develop both of these skills. We aim to set a pace that is right for everybody, and will be able to work in smaller groups for instrument-specific tuition and ensemble playing.

Sunday: Register from 5pm and then the Klezfest Jam and social from 6pm
Monday – 10am – 5.30pm / Klezfest Jam
Tuesday – 10am – 5.30pm / Klezfest Jam
Wednesday – 10am – 5.30pm / Klezfest Concert
Thursday – 10am – 5.30pm
/ Closing party

Course tutors:

  • Susi Evans (Head of Faculty)
  • Merlin Shepherd
  • Indra Buraczewska
  • Szilvia Csaranko
  • Josh Middleton
  • Simon Roth
  • Anna Lowenstein
Susi Evans

Susi Evans - Head of Klezfest Faculty - Clarinet and accordion

Susi “has a deep knowledge of the klezmer idiom” (Evening Standard), and her performances have inspired press reviews remarking on her “nimble solo features and excellent tone control” (The Scottish Herald). Susi is a founder member of She’Koyokh – an award-winning klezmer & Balkan band that was nominated for ‘Best Group’ in the Songlines World Music Awards 2012 and has performed internationally at festivals and venues such as WOMAD and the Concertgebouw. Susi also plays with the London Klezmer Quartet who have toured in Australia four times. She appeared regularly on the West End stage in the National Theatre’s smash-hit production of War Horse and has collaborated with the Aurora Orchestra, composer Jocelyn Pook, Frank London (Klezmatics) and Kalman Balogh & Alan Bern (The Other Europeans). Susi graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a first class degree in 2004 and having studied in Istanbul with Selim Sesler, at the Plovdiv Music Academy in Bulgaria with Nikola Iliev and with leaders of the klezmer revival, is now in demand as a teacher herself.

Merlin Shepherd - Clarinet

Merlin Shepherd’s clarinet provides the perfect foil for his deep musicality. Whether he’s playing traditional Klezmer with the Sound&Light Cinematic Duo or wild ecstatic music with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars and Boban Marcovic, or free-form wailing with Aaron Alexander’s Midrash Mish-Mosh or playing with his own quartet, his music is a powerful and emotional force that redefines the instrument.

His unique musical voice can be experienced on his debut solo CD of original material, “Intimate Hopes & Terrors”, (released on Oriente Musik) a unique collaboration with 10 of the top Klezmer musicians from the former Soviet Union. This recording was given a 5 star rating and also a “Top of the World” track on the cover CD of Songlines.

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”. Composed scores for numerous dance and theatre companies. Leads The Merlin Shepherd Kapelye featuring The Former Soviet Union Klezmer Allstars that perform Merlin’s compositions in traditional and new klezmer style. Also leads the Merlin Shepherd Quartet, the smaller more intimate version of his Kapelye.

Leader of Hamsa Quintet since 2014, a Mediterranean Klezmer Funk band.

Merlin also works with Polina Shepherd as The Sound & Light Cinematic Duo, playing to the Yuri Morozov Collection of B&W silent Jewish films made in Kiev from 1908-1945.

Szilvia Csaranko – accordion & piano

Szilvia Csaranko – accordion & piano

Szilvia was born in Budapest, raised in Germany, and comes from a Hungarian family of professional musicians. She started training as a classical pianist at the age of six. She graduated from the University of Hildesheim in Cultural Education Studies. She discovered her love for the accordion when she began searching for her own musical roots through intensive study of Eastern European folklore and klezmer music.

Szilvia lives in Hannover and works as an accordionist, pianist and arranger with numerous ensembles and projects all over Europe. She is one of only a handful of accordionists in Germany specialising in traditional Yiddish music.
She is co-founder and musical director of the Klezmerorchester Erfurt – an 80-piece klezmer orchestra of amateur and professional musicians from all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Their motto “KlezWeCan” brilliantly reflects this project that brings together musicians of all generations and musical backgrounds.

Indra Buraczewska - Bass and Lower strings

Indra Buraczewska – double bass (Australia)

After graduating from the Victorian College of Arts (Australia) as a classical violinist, Indra discovered the wonderful world of the bass. She has played a multitude of genres, from original pop and Balkans to jazz and funk. Touring throughout Europe, Indra has played at the Edinburgh and Galway festivals, and in Australia has appeared at major festivals including Woodford, the Falls Festival, Earthcore and the National Folk Festival. She played bass for the gypsy trio ‘Vardos’ for six years and continues to specialise in world music. Indra first joined the
London Klezmer Quartet for their 2012 Australian tour and has been captivated by the Klezmer genre. She features on three of their four albums.
Now based in Latvia, she has played many a klezmer concert and taught at workshops in the U.K. and Europe as well as having previously taught at Klezfest.

Josh Middleton - accordion

Josh Middleton is an accordionist and composer based in London. As a professional accordionist Josh specialises in Klezmer and East European Folk styles, however, he also plays a wide range of styles such as English/Scottish/Irish Folk, French Chanson, Manouche Jazz. He has been performing music professionally since the age of 14, graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a first class degree in Ethnomusicology, and has since been working as a freelance musician while studying both Klezmer and Bulgarian music, the latter at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv. Josh has worked with many Klezmer and Balkan music ensembles such as She’koyokh and The London Klezmer Quartet, has shared a stage with Klezmorim such as Frank London and Merlin Shepherd, taught at Klezfest London alongside Klezmer scholars such as Alan Bern and Joel Rubin, and recorded for artists as diverse as DJ Vadim and Kadialy Kouyate.

Josh also works as a composer on the Puppet Theatre Barge, performing and writing music for puppet shows. He has extensive experience composing and performing music for the stage, writing and touring with puppet companies such as Movingstage, String Theatre, Mirth and Misery, Drew Colby, and the Bus King Theatre. He has worked with theatre companies such as Footfall Theatre and Nick Cassenbaum Ltd, and written and performed live music for story telling with The Embers Collective and for live film scores with The Cabinet of Living Cinema. Before the pandemic he was working on a production of Paula Vogel’s play Indecent at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

He presents world music podcast ‘The Wind The Shakes’ from Brush and Bow. You can listen HERE.

In addition to accordion, Josh also plays keys, guitar, Irish whistle, harp, trumpet, Bulgarian bagpipe, and has a great passion for singing folk songs in English and Bulgarian!

He loves the delicate counterpoint between two or even three clashing patterns on a person.

Anna Lowenstein - Violin and Upper Strings

Anna Lowenstein is a Klezmer violinist from London, training initially in Classical music and graduating with a BA in Music and Ethnomusicology from Manchester University in 2015.
She has been studying Klezmer for over ten years – travelling internationally to learn from some of the leading performers and teachers of the style including Alicia Svigals, Cookie Siegelstein, Deborah Strauss, Alan Bern and Frank London.
Anna is a founding member of Loshn, a Klezmer trio playing Yiddish folk music alongside Susi Evans on accordion and John Macnaughton on clarinet who tour and gig around London and the UK.
She recently finished a 3-month run at The Menier Chocolate Factory, performing in the European debut of Paula Vogel’s, Indecent. For this she joined Musical Director/Clarinetist Merlin Shepherd and accordionist Josh Middleton to form the onstage band playing the accompanying score by Klezmatics fiddle player Lisa Gutkin.
She is currently supported by Jewish Arts organisation Asylum Arts and Arts Council England to fund the research and composition of her debut solo album.

Simon Roth - Drums and Percussion

Simon is a drummer, improviser and composer working within the Contemporary, Jazz and World music scenes who has performed across the UK, Europe, North and South America and Asia. Having gained a first class honours degree in music from the University of York, where he delved into the music of Béla Bartók, György Ligeti and Igor Stravinsky and studied Electroacoustic music, Indian music and Contemporary Jazz with John Taylor and Julian Arguelles. Simon also studied Jazz at Newpark Music Centre in Dublin, Ireland, Carnatic Music at Brhaddhvani in Chennai, India and Music Pedagogy at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary.

He has collaborated with a diverse mix of musicians, from Mercury-nominated folk singer Sam Lee to experimental punk band Magnus Loom and multi-award winning vocalist Lauren Kinsella. Performance highlights include supporting Robert Glasper Trio at Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio Festival and Jools Holland at Greenwich Music Time with Elliot Galvin Trio. With Ghanaian-inspired group Vula Viel, he headlined Kings Place Festival, Songlines Encounters Festival and opening the 2015 London Jazz Festival at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. This year I was part of Brighter Sound’s Jazz Director’s Series, working in a ten-piece chamber ensemble with legendary US saxophonist Chris Potter & Inner City Ensemble for a UK tour of new music. His music has been performed at the BBC Proms and broadcast widely on national radio.

Collaborative projects include a multi-disciplinary show based on Sephardic folklore with the ten-piece electro-acoustic ensemble Sefiroth; ‘Dreamland’ – a multimedia installation at the Turner Contemporary featuring the Elliot Galvin Trio; and a dramatized interpretation of T.S Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’ at the Happy Days International Beckett Festival. I also set up and ran the cross-arts platform Pop-Up Circus, staging exhibitions and live events throughout London from 2011-2014.

Full rate £250
Student / Senior rate £150 / Scholarships £125
Senior rate is set at 65+
Scholarship rate / Technical Scholarships please contact the team.

  • Scholarships: If you are a current student and would like a scholarship to support your application fees we are able to offer you a reduction in exchange for your voluntary assistance to the JMI team during the week. The commitment will be based around your studies to ensure that you do not miss any classes and learning.
  • Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact JMI team for extra information about the course.


Covid-19: We view our guidelines for managing risk of Covid-19 as a shared responsibility.

All of us as individuals:
The JMI staff and team are all vaccinated
We take lateral flow tests regularly and will be doing so throughout the week.
Please test yourself regularly.
We will be wearing masks for the duration of the week.
We kindly ask that you take our initiative and do the same.

Managing the site:
All of our classrooms will be ventilated.
We are limiting numbers to our classes and our events
The campus is out of term time so there will be no other students on site except us.
Please maintain social-distancing from others.

Refund policy – deductions are made due to the level of administration each studentships/application at different stages of preparation.
10% deducted if cancelled before 1 March.
25% deducted if cancelled after 1 April.

If due to the pandemic and Covid-19 restrictions that we are forced to move from in-person to online, then we will give you the option to accept either the switch from in-person to online or request a refund, in line with the refund policy timeline. (above) 

SOAS University of London
London, WC1H 0XG
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0207 898 4307
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