U.Va. Klezmer Ensemble and Guest Alan Bern to Perform March 27 in Old Cabell

March 12, 2014

The University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music will present the U.Va. Klezmer Ensemble on March 27 at 8 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall.

The Klezmer Ensemble – under the direction of Joel Rubin, director of performance, clarinetist and ethnomusicologist – will welcome guest accordionist, pianist and composer Alan Bern of Berlin. The concert wraps up Bern’s weeklong residency, which also includes a film screening, workshops and a colloquium. 

The U.Va. Klezmer Ensemble focuses on the music of the klezmorim, originally the Jewish professional instrumentalists of eastern Europe. Klezmer was brought to North America by immigrants around the turn of the last century. Since the 1970s, a dynamic revival of this tradition has been taking place in America and beyond. Klezmer’s recent popularity has brought it far from its roots in medieval minstrelsy and Jewish ritual and into the sphere of mainstream culture. 

Tickets for the March 27 concert are $10 ($5 for students and free for U.Va. students if reserved in advance), and are available at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu or at the door. All other residency events are free and open to the public.

The residency is co-sponsored by U.Va.’s Jewish Studies program, the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Dunton gift, and the offices of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts.

Bern is the founding director of Yiddish Summer Weimar and leader of The Other Europeans, a musical collaboration between renowned klezmer and Romani musicians, as well as musical director of Brave Old World, the pioneering klezmer revival group he and Rubin started in 1989.

Bern has been an important figure in the klezmer revival and improvised music since the 1980s, collaborating with numerous artists including Itzhak Perlman, Guy Klucevsek, The Klezmatics and Andy Statman. As an educator, he has taught at Klezkanada, Klezfest London, YiddishFest Moscow and elsewhere.

Bern earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degreein music composition at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music in 2006. His compositions have received awards in the U.S., Europe and Israel, and he also writes and directs music for theater and modern dance productions. He received a Ruth Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in world music from the Dance and Folk Festival Rudolstadt in 2009.

Now in its eighth year, the U.Va. Klezmer Ensemble has become a vital part of the musical community, performing in Old Cabell Hall as well as at conferences and festivals in Central and Northern Virginia. The ensemble is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across Grounds plus faculty, alumni and other members of the greater Central Virginia community, and is dedicated to exploring klezmer and other Jewish and eastern European musical traditions from the 18th to the 21st century. The group is committed to ethnic, racial, cultural and religious diversity.

Schedule of the Alan Bern Residency:

  • March 22, 5 p.m. Screening & Discussion: The Broken Sound with Alan Bern and Joel Rubin at Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room (free)
  • March 23, 11 a.m. Klezmer Workshop with Alan Bern in Old Cabell Hall, room 107 (free)
  • March 26, noon, Jewish Studies & Center for German Studies Joint Colloquium, “The Weimar Klezmer Republic: Creating a Center for Yiddish Culture in Germany,” Nau Hall, room 342 (free)
  • March 27, 8 p.m. U.Va. Klezmer Ensemble Concert with Alan Bern in Old Cabell Hall ($10/$5/ Free for U.Va. students who reserve in advance)

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Media Contact

Marcy Day

Director of Promotions, Dept. of Music