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Klezfest 2018


Sunday 19th August 2018 | 12:00 pm
Friday 24th August 2018 | 6:30 pm
£150 – £250


SOAS, Main Building, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,
London, WC1H 0XG
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NOTE to registered applicants: Registration: If you want to register on Sunday 19th, please come at 1230pm and register before 1pm (although the front desk will have one of our staff there at all times in the afternoon for any latecomers). Alternatively you can register on the Monday 20th from 9am until 0930am.
 SOAS Main Building, WC1H 0XG

We are very happy to announce that our world famous Klezmer summer school is back again for 2018.

Join the world famous music school and learn klezmer this summer at KlezFest 2018. 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)
Andreas Schmitges – Mandolin/Guitar/Dance (DE)
Josh Dolgin – Accordion (CAN)
Merlin Shepherd – Clarinet (UK)
Meg Hamilton – Violin (UK)
Flora Curzon – Violin (UK)
Sayumi Yoshida – Dance (DE)
Diana Matut – Lectures (DE)

With more faculty being announced very soon.

Full rate £250 (£225 if booked before 1st June 2018)
Student / Senior rate £175 (£150 if booked before 1st June 2018)
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 19th 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 20th August: 9.30am-8pm
Tuesday 21st August: 9.30am-8pm
Wednesday 22nd August: 9.30am-8pm
Thursday 23rd August: 9.30am-10pm
Friday 24th August: 9.30am-5pm

Alan Bern - Head of Faculty (Germany/USA)

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)

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

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.

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.

Diana Matut

Diana Matut, PhD, is the Lilli- and Michael Sommerfreund guest professor for Jewish Music at the College for Jewish Studies in Heidelberg. In 1999 she earned her Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University, followed by an MA in Yiddish Studies at SOAS, London. The same year brought her to New York, where she took part in the Advanced Seminar for Yiddish Studies at JTS – taught in Yiddish. She regularly teaches and lectures at universities in Germany and abroad, including Rom, Genova, Olomouc, Wrocław, Graz, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Beside her academic career, Diana is singer and leader of the band Simkhat Hanefesh (Joy of the Soul) which performs Jewish music and Yiddish songs of the Renaissance and Baroque period. She teaches old Yiddish song and the children’s song workshop at Yiddish Summer Weimar and has produced a CD with Yiddish songs for and with children (Far dem nayem dor – For the New Generation). Diana is also the translator of children’s poems by Kadia Molodowsky. www.simkhat-hanefesh.com

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.



Josh Dolgin (Canada)

Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is a pianist, accordionist, producer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker, magician, cartoonist and puppet maker based in Montreal, Quebec. He has lectured and has led master classes in music festivals around the world, from Moscow to Paris, from London to LA, and from Krakow to San Francisco, and has performed on every continent. With 6 solo albums to his name, he has performed all over the world for more than 10 years, and his list of collaborators knows no generational, social, cultural nor religious boundaries. Aside from countless festivals and venues around the world, Socalled has performed at Carnegie Hall (twice!), the Olympia in Paris, the Apollo theatre in Harlem and the Arsht centre in Miami.  In 2003, his collaborative album Hiphopkhasene with British violinist Sophie Solomon won a German Record Critics Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik). Then, in 2005, he released an EP based on the Passover service, The Socalled Seder, which he produced in his apartment and sold through the mail in a world before the internet, with almost 1000 mail-orders! It was eventually officially released by Jewish hipster label JDub and hailed as one of the greatest new Jewish Music records.

He started to work with renowned clarinetist David Krakauer, producing his genre-twisting “Bubbemeises” record, which led to an offer from French Jazz label Label Bleu to record his first proper solo album. Featuring about 40 guests from all walks of musical life, Ghettoblaster featured the breakout hits “The Good Old Days” and “You Are Never Alone”, the video of which garnered some 3 million views on Youtube. Ghettoblaster was on the longlist for the Polaris prize. The collaboration with Krakauer led to a project with James Brown’s arranger Fred Wesley “Abraham Inc” and the album of funk meeting Klezmer, “Tweet Tweet”.

His original Yiddish gangster puppet musical, “Isaac Babel’s Odessa Stories”, was presented at the Segal Center in Montreal in 2013: the cast recording will be released shortly. His work with cellist Matt Haimowitz, a re-working of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, garnered another Juno award nomination. In December 2015, Socalled was presented with the “Adrienne Cooper Memorial Dreaming in Yiddish” award for his work disseminating and exploring Yiddish culture.

When he’s not working in the studio, Socalled makes cookbooks, draws cartoons, edits video and practices Kurt Weill on the piano.

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.

Flora Curzon

London based violinist Flora Curzon is best known for her musical versatility. Performing on both ‘modern’ and ‘historical’ violin set ups, she has performed internationally as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, solo artist, folk fiddler, improviser and singer, as well as with her own duo, Fran & Flora. Whilst her background is in classical music, her musical horizons are broad: she is well versed in many styles of folk music and improvisation and has a keen interest in working with musicians from other cultures and with different art forms as a performer, improviser/composer, recording artist and backing vocalist.

Her unique combination of interests and skills have sparked a fast growing and eclectic career: This year her string duo, Fran & Flora, described as ‘fiercely passionate’ by the BBCs Max Reinhardt, were selected by Late Junction as one of the BBC Introducing artists.

She has also collaborated with artists and ensembles including folk singer Sam Lee; tabla player Talvin Singh; historical performance ensembles Ex Cathedra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Music for Awhile; The Multi-Story Orchestra; composer Jocelyn Pook; virtuoso musician Tcha Limberger; ecclectic Eastern European bands Dunajska Kapelye, She’koyekh and The London Klezmer Quartet; Bengali/London fusion band Khiyo; stunning pop band Hejira; artist Meilyr Jones; actor/musician/researcher Vivi Lachs and her band Katshanes; storyteller Chris Salisbury; Baroque / folk group, The Twisted Twenty; chamber ensembles including The London Chamber Collective and The Keats Quartet; contemporary music groups Phaedra Ensemble, London Sinfonietta and the Brodsky Quartet; theatre companies including Deafinitely Theatre, Chai for All and MishMash Productions; and has played for dancing with Bricolage and the Ceilidh Liberation Front.

Flora also teaches privately and has lead workshops in ensemble playing and folk music for Jackdaws Music Trust, Crean Folk Camp, Theatre in the Fields and Klezfest.

Meg Hamilton

Millennium Award winning, classically trained violinist and violist, Meg Hamilton has played with She’Koyokh since meeting the band at Klezfest in 2002. She has studied Lautareasca music with Romanian and Moldovan Gypsies, traditional Bulgarian music and the Gadulka in Gabrovo, and Ottoman Art Music in Istanbul. As a violist, she co-founded and plays Mediterranean, tango and other world and classical music with the Kosmos Ensemble. She played the fiddler’s music for the Fiddler On The Roof production that got picked for a West End run. She has performed and recorded Yiddish song with Hilda Bronstein, Jewish pop with Oi Va Voi, Greek and Turkish songs with Cigdem Aslan, Arabic vocal music with Abdul Salam Khier and Merit Ariane Stephanos, Romanian folk and Gypsy music with Monooka’s Caravan, Turkish Tango with Eylem Korkmaz, and also performed with La Tipica Contemporary Flamenco Company, Nitin Sawnhey and Talvin Singh, as well as Greek , Armenian, Kurdish, Alevi and Persian traditional music in various groups including the Nihavent Classical Turkish Ensemble. Meg’s fiddle is like her second passport.

Klezfest Application Form for Print

Assistant Head of Faculty for Klezfest 2018: Susi Evans speaks of Klezfest's impact on her career.

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