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Klezfest 2019

Sunday 18th August 2019 Friday 23rd August 2019

We are very happy to announce that our world famous Klezmer summer school is back again for 2019.

Join the world famous music school and learn klezmer this summer at KlezFest 2019. Here is a a peek into what you can expect:

  • Traditional klezmer; history, melodies, ornamentation, dance and accompaniment
  • Play music in ensembles and delve into improvisational techniques
  • Interpret scores, jam and perform to the public.
  • Lectures from the cutting edge of academic research
  • Hands-on tutoring from world leading experts.

The international faculty will feature some of the very best klezmer musicians from around the world.

Alan Bern – Accordion (DE/USA) – Head of Faculty
Susi Evans – Clarinet (UK) – Assistant Head of Faculty
Ilana Cravitz – Violin (UK)
Merlin Shepherd – Clarinet (UK)
Ilya Shneyveys – Accordion
Craig Judelman – Violin
Indra Buraczewska – Bass
Andreas Schmitges – Mandolin/Guitar/Dance (DE)
Sarha Moore – Brass
Simon Roth – Drums and percussion
Sayumi Yoshida – Dance (DE)

With more faculty being announced very soon.

Full rate £250 (£225 if booked before 1st June 2019)
Student / Senior rate £175 (£150 if booked before 1st June 2019)
Senior rate is set at 65+

Band Bookings: If you are in a band and would like to enjoy huge discounts then sign up with 3 or more members of your band together and enjoy paying only £125 each. For more information please email gil.karpas@jmi.org.uk

Refund policy:
10% if cancelled before 1 June.
25% if cancelled after 1 July.
50% if cancelled after 1 August.

Daily timings:
Sunday 18th August: 1pm-6pm This is a welcome day for registration, lectures and concerts with the other schools of Yiddish and Yiddish Song. Formal teaching starts Monday.
Monday 19th August: 9.30am-8pm
Tuesday 20th August: 9.30am-8pm
Wednesday 21st August: 9.30am-8pm
Thursday 22nd August: 9.30am-10pm
Friday 23rd August: 9.30am-5pm

Alan Bern - Head of Faculty (Germany/USA) - Accordion and Piano

Alan Bern is the creator and artistic director of Yiddish Summer and co-founder and chairman of other music e.V., both based in Weimar, Germany. A pioneer of the American klezmer revival, he is a composer/arranger, pianist, accordionist, educator, cultural activist and philosopher. He is co-founder and director of Brave Old World, founder and director of The Other Europeans and Diaspora Redux. He has performed and recorded with Itzhak Perlman, Andy Statman, the Klezmatics, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, among others. He also performs with Bern, Brody & Rodach and with Guy Klucevsek. His education included classical piano with Paul Badura-Skoda and Leonard Shure, jazz with Karl Berger, the Art Ensemble of Chicago,  Anthony Braxton and others, contemporary music with John Cage, Frederic Rzewski, Joel Hoffman and others, and philosophy and cognitive science with Dan Dennett. He received his master’s degree in Philosophy and his doctorate degree in music composition. In 2009, he was given the Ruth Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a musician and educator.

Susi Evans

Susi Evans - Assistant Head of Faculty (UK) - Clarinet

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.

Ilana Cravitz

Ilana Cravitz - UK (Violin/Fiddle)

Ilana is one of a handful of professional violinists in the UK playing klezmer music in the traditional style. She has introduced thousands of people of all ages to klezmer through her performances, courses and workshops at festivals, venues of all shapes and sizes, and universities, colleges and schools. Her book, Klezmer Fiddle – a how-to guide, is published by Oxford University Press. Ilana also leads and calls for Yiddish dances and is a founder member of the London Klezmer Quartet, which within five years has produced three well-received CDs, toured Australia three times and appeared on national radio in a number of countries. She has worked with leading Sephardic music group Los Desterrados, and regularly plays English and Celtic music with ceilidh band The Muckers. Ilana studied baroque violin and viola da gamba at post-graduate level at the Royal College of Music in London, and can still sometimes be heard in concert playing on gut strings.

Merlin Shepherd

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.

Andreas Schmitges (Germany)

Andreas Schmitges is a professional klezmer musician on the guitar and mandolin, a band leader, dance leader, author, festival organizer and Yiddish activist. He holds a degree in Jazz Guitar from the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz (University for Music and Dance), Cologne. Andreas has taught at workshops on Yiddish musical culture all over the world. He is fluent in Yiddish and as an artist is particularly interested in the interplay of Yiddish language, music and dance, and their relationships to other cultures.

Andreas tours regularly with his ensembles Voices of Ashkenaz & Klezmer Alliance and teaches Yiddish dance and his primary instruments, guitar and mandolin at festivals and workshops such as KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Yiddish Summer Weimar, KlezFest, Klezmer Festival Stockholm, at the Maison de la Culture Yiddish (Paris) and many others. He is the artistic director of Jewish/Yiddish festivals in Halle and Gelsenkirchen and currently serves as the curator of Yiddish Summer Weimar.

He was the producer for both the theatre piece Bobe Mayses and the dance piece Gilgul, two artistic projects of Yiddish Summer 2016. In that year he also initiated and co-organized the first ever conference on historically informed performance practice of Yiddish music (YHIP).

He has had the honor of taking the stage with stars of the international klezmer and Yiddish scene such as Alan Bern, Deborah Strauss, Shura Lipovski, the late Pesakh Fiszman, Frank London, and Efim Chorny.

Sayumi Yoshuda

Sayumi Yoshida

Sayumi was born in Japan and has lived in Berlin since 1987. She is a freelance graphic designer. Following her studies at the Hochschule der Kunste Berlin (today UdK) she worked as a freelance artist in diverse performances, sound and site installations.

She first learned Yiddish dance in 1989 with Michael Alpert and Brave Old World. She has also studied with Zev Feldman, Sue Foy, Erik Bendix, Steven Weintraub and Andreas Schmitges, among others. She has led workshops in Yiddish dance in Japan at Osaka University and for the Japanese-Jewish Friendship and Study Society in Kobe. 

She has led workshops in Yiddish dance and Dance ball at the Yiddish Dance Mini-Workshop in the Festival Week during the Yiddish Summer Weimar (since 2013), Shtetl Neukölln Berlin (since 2015) and Yiddish Academy Tokyo (since 2014). 

In addition to Yiddish dance, she also performs traditional Southern Italian dance, tarantella. Since 2006, she has been a member of the Berlin-based dance ensemble “TarantaScalza,” directed by Margherita D’Amelio, with whom she frequently performs at festivals.



Ilya Shneyveys - Accordion

is an artist and educator in Jewish music, from klezmer and Yiddish folk song to fusion and experimental projects.

He is the artistic director and a founding member of the Yiddish psychedelic rock band Forshpil (Latvia-Russia-Germany) and a founding member of the Yiddish-Bavarian fusion project Alpen Klezmer (D), winner of 2014 RUTH World music award at TFF Rudolstadt. He frequently performs with Dobranotch (RU) and has collaborated with artists such as Opa! (RU), The Klezmatics (US), Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird (D) and others.

Over the years he has performed and taught at major Jewish festivals around the world, including Yiddish Summer Weimar, Yiddish Fest Moscow, Klezfest St.Petersburg, Klezfest London, KlezKanada, Montreal Jewish Festival, Toronto Ashkenaz Festival, and Krakow Jewish Festival.

Ilya composes klezmer pieces in both traditional and experimental styles and creates original arrangements of traditional Jewish music. He iss renowned as an improviser, accompanist and band leader.

Craig Judelman - Violin

Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle where he began studying classical violin at a young age soon branching out to Jazz and then klezmer and various folk music by age 12. His klezmer teachers included the early Klezmer revival fiddler Wendy Marcus and later David Krakauer. He went on to study composition with Joan Tower, as well as classical and jazz violin at Bard College in New York.

Craig first made a name for himself in New York as an American folk musician, where he was a founding member of The Dust Busters, who released an album with their mentor John Cohen on the prestigious Smithsonian Folkways Label. He later joined the band Litvakus, one of the only contemporary bands devoted to the regional style of the Northern European, or Litvish Jews. In recent years he has devoted himself to intensive study of the few old Jewish fiddlers in the early part of the 20th century, as well as deepening his understanding of the Litvish style. He has learned on the bandstand from some of the best contemporary Klezmer string players, including Michael Alpert, Mark Rubin, Pete Rushefsky, Bob Cohen and Jake Schulman-Ment.

Craig is a founder, arranger and fiddler in Goyfriend, a new collaboration between members of Litvakus and Sasha Lurje that explores the relationship between the Jews and their Baltic and Slavic neighbors. Together with Ms. Lurje he also founded Lebedik, a band devoted to Yiddish song in its various forms. He performs with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird and a variety of European and American Swing and Old Time American folk music bands.

Craig has been a music educator for over a decade, including at various festivals and workshops, most recently at the Shtetl Neukölln festival in Berlin. He has performed there and at other Yiddish music festivals, including Lviv Klezfest, Singer Festival in Warsaw, Yiddish New York and Klezmore.

Indra Buraczewska - Bass

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 is currently based in Latvia; one of the factors for relocating was to play more frequently with the band. In the last 2 years, she has toured the UK extensively with LKQ as well as participated  in running various Klezmer courses. She also sings Yiddish songs with the quartet and features on three of their four albums.

Sarha Moore - Brass

Sarha Moore is a saxophonist specialising in performing popular music from around the world, particularly in street bands. Her performances include klezmer, Indian, African, Latin American and jazz musics at celebrations and celebratory processions, and travels the world with the Bollywood Brass Band. She has just completed a PhD in world music studies.

Sarha started musical life at age 9, acting the Pied Piper with her recorder, graduating to the oboe, and finally to the saxophone. She still likes nothing better than to wander the streets leading people around playing music, and specialises in performing with street bands.

Sarha’s memorable performances have included playing tenor sax in the York Street Band busking around Europe: for Astrid Proll and Prince Charles (not at the same time!) and for contortionists and dancing Hell’s Angels; and the All Weather band playing daily in all weathers at The Dome in Greenwich.

Sarha also played for five years with Ghanaian Highlife band Orchestre Jazira, and was baritone sax player in socialist big band The Happy End. She is currently also playing tenor sax in Yiddish music hall group Katsha’nes, the York Street Band, baritone sax in Charlie Mingus jazz cover band Hog Callin’, as well as street bands The Valentinos and Crocodile Style.

In her spare time Sarha runs classes at the City Lit in London, and after completing an MA in World Music Studies, she has now been awarded a PhD for her studies on The Flattened Supertonic. As well as playing for the Bollywood Brass Band, Sarha also performs and leads the instrumentalists in the Great Yiddish Parade.

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.


Sunday 18th August 2019
Friday 23rd August 2019
£150.00 – £250.00
SOAS, Main Building, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,
London, WC1H 0XG
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