Welcome to JMI’s March Newsletter
We’re kicking off this month with another opportunity to learn from Tcha Limberger, the incredible Sinti gypsy violin and guitar virtuoso. His masterclasses are always very special and I would encourage any instrumentalists to attend. Places are selling fast for the summer schools and we are, of course, particularly excited to see such enthusiasm for the return of Klezfest. It will be a great chance to learn from visiting world class musicians and pioneers of the klezmer revival, Alan Bern and Joel Rubin.
And if you can’t wait til the summer to sing in Yiddish, then you can head along to JW3 on Tuesday evenings for Zingt, The People’s Yiddish Chorus, led by Rachel Weston.

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Master Musician

JMI is proud to host the master musician Tcha Limberger for this exclusive masterclass. Come and learn gypsy violin from one of the world’s greatest living exponents of this deep and rich musical tradition. Over the last ten years multi-instrumentalist Tcha Limberger has become one of the most prominent and important figures in folk music of the Carpathian Basin. He studied the music of Kalotaszeg, Transylvania, with the legendary Neti Sandor, and the Magyar Nota style of Budapest with Horvat Bela. Born into a famous family of western European Manouche musicians he grew up surrounded by the Gypsy swing style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and has toured with Fapy Lafertin and Lollo Meier. At seventeen he studied modern classical composition with Belgian composer Dick Vanderharst and recently composed the music for the piece by Les ballets C de la B ‘Patchagonia’ directed by Alain Platel.

Other than his Budapest Gyspy Orchestra and the Kalotaszeg Trio, his current projects include a free improvisation guitar duo with classical guitarist Herman Schamp and his all-string swing band Les Violons de Brussels. Until now his performances with the Budapest Orchestra have earned him most notoriety, to which The Sunday Times have described him as “The polymath virtuoso Tcha Limberger is the king of Gypsy music!

All instruments welcome although strings players will benefit the most.
Grade 5 or proficient equivalent.

Masterclass info:

Thu 5 March
Time: 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: SOAS, Russell Sq.
Price: £7.50-10



Sing Yiddish Together

Led by Rachel Weston, a professional Yiddish singer, JMI’s Zingt! The People’s Yiddish Chorus at JW3 is open to all. Participants learn traditional and new Yiddish songs, nigunim and specific ornamentations of this singing style.
They sing Yiddish songs in 1 – 4 parts with and without sheet music, and nigunim mostly accompanied by piano but also a cappella.

3rd March 

from 6.45–8.45pm

Culminating in a concert at JW3 on March 17th

£10 per session
To check if you are eligible for a concessionary fee, please e-mail

On alternating Tuesdays from the 10th Feb Polina Shepherd's London Yiddish Choir will also be meeting. See Top Picks below for more details or click here

We interviewed Rachel Weston about her passion for Yiddish Song and you can hear that feature here

  Choir info: 

Date: Tue 3 & 17 March 
Time: 6.45pm to 8.45pm
Venue: JW3, Finchley Road
Price: £10


Michael Lipman, Maureen Lipman, David Schneider

For the third year running, the JMI Joke Lunch returns on March 10th 2015 to the beautiful Kent House in Knightsbridge. We are pleased to be welcoming back our Joint-President Lord Grade CBE and Actress Maureen Lipman CBE to entertain us with their selection of hilarious jokes. Compere David Schneider, one of the funniest stars of UK stage and screen, will again serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Funds raised at this event contribute towards JMI's educational fund supporting students of Jewish Music and culture of all ages. A delicious and kosher lunch will be interspersed with seriously large quantities of mirth and merriment. There has been such a demand that we are now sold out, if you would like to be notified of any last minute cancellations, then please call our office on 020 7898 4307 or emailing to register your interest.

  Lunch info:

Date: Tue 10 March
Time: 12-3pm
Venue: Kent House




Erev Yom Hashoah

Norwegian Jewish artist, Bente Kahan, interprets songs and poetry written in Nazi Germany and the ghettos of Vilnius, Krakow, Warsaw and Terezin (Theresienstadt). Including songs by the Yiddish songwriter Mordechai Gebirtig, poems by Max Hermann-Neisse, Ilse Weber and the contemporary Polish poet Tadeusz Rozewicz set to music by Bente herself. There will also feature monologues from her play Voices from Theresienstadt and concert Home.

Bente has performed in prestigious music venues from Moscow to New York, from Berlin to Warsaw and London.

‘This is not merely moving, but also uplifting for the heart.’ Die Welt
‘An astonishing from the gut performance’ Time Out

We interviewed Bente Kahan about her life, her music and her work to restore the once great White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw. That podcast can be heard here

  Concert info: 

Date: Wed 15 Apr
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £8

OT AZOY 2015  

Learn Yiddish

Discover JMI's famous full immersion courses in Yiddish Language, Song and Culture for people of all ages, levels and backgrounds, where even complete beginners learn to speak, read, write, sing and even dream in Yiddish in a week. Ot Azoy Yiddish language classes are held at 4 levels, led by world renowned Yiddish Lecturer Helen Beer and her distinguished team of fellow Yiddishists, Sonia Pinkusowitz-Dratwa, Annick Prime-Margules, Lily Kahn and Barry Davis. Shura Lipovsky, the outstanding Director of The Golden Peacock (Goldene Pave), will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song. Last summer the course was full, attracting participants from across the world, so we recommend early booking.

  Course info:

Date: Sun 9 to Fri 14 Aug 
Time: 9.30am-8pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £145-245


Learn Yiddish Song

Our annual summer song school returns this year with the addition of new faculty, courses and syllabus. Once again the course will provide complete immersion in Yiddish song and song culture. Each day will start with a repertoire class and will be followed by a teaching class.There will be a repertoire class in the afternoon, followed by masterclasses and a Yiddish Choir for all. This year the confirmed faculty so far are course leader Shura Lipovsky, Berlin's Yiddish folk Bard Karsten Troyke, Dr Alex Knapp, Rachel Weston and we are pleased to confirm that Lorin Sklamberg of Klezmatics/YIVO will be coming all the way from New York to teach on the faculty this year.

Singers will also be taught Yiddish for Singers with Helen Beer and no day will be complete without joining in the Yiddish choir. There are also social events, Yiddish theatre, film, concerts and much more, so do not delay and book your place early.

  Course info:

Date: Sun 9 to Fri 14 Aug 
Time: 9.30am-8pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £145-245


Learn Klezmer

We are very happy to announce that our world famous Klezmer summer school is back again for 2015.

Join the world famous music school and learn klezmer this summer at KlezFest 2015. Here is a peek into what you can expect:

• Lectures from the cutting edge of academic research
• 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.

The international faculty will feature some of the very best klezmer musicians from around the world:
Dr Alan Bern (piano/accordion – Germany)
Ilana Cravitz (violin – UK)
Joel Rubin (clarinet – USA)
and outstanding guest tutors from the UK will be joining the faculty for masterclasses. Please keep yourself updated by checking the website.

Minimum instrumental proficiency, Grade 5 or equivalent; no klezmer experience necessary. All are welcome.
For more information and to book please visit our website here

  Course info:

Date: Tue 18 - Fri 21 Aug 
Time: 9am-10pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £120-£165


Singing Together

Singing Communities seminar with Musician-in-Residence Joey Weisenberg.

EAJL, Jewish Music Institute and Minyan Hadash, New London Synagogue, present a whole-day Singing Communities Seminar exploring Jewish melodies and prayer-texts and focusing on communal interaction. Led by Mechon Hadar Creative Director Joey Weisenberg, we will study the intersection of music, spirituality, and prayer. Join us for energetic singing and musical-spiritual transformation. Focused on raising the aesthetic level of all parts of the community together, we encourage rabbis, cantors, ba’alei tfilah (prayer leaders), musicians, singers, lay leaders, community organizers, and others to join in our ongoing exploration of communal musical dynamics.  

We interviewed Joey Weisenberg and Jaclyn Chernett and that feature can be heard here

  Seminar info: 

Date: Fri 13 to Sun 15 Mar
Venues: Abbey Rd & Kol Nefesh Synagogues.
Price: Various; see listings


2015's Artistic Director: Deborah Strauss

JMI are proud to be associated with this engaging weekend festival of klezmer and all its associated musical and cultural forms. Kleznorth 2015′s Musical Director will be Deborah Strauss and there is an exciting programme of klezmer, Yiddish song, klezmer dance, film and related talks. All served with good food of course and all taking place in the beautiful Derbyshire village of Youlgreave. This will be its 6th year. 

Throughout this weekend, there are instrumental, dance and song strands with Yiddish films, talks and other inputs as well. There are also communal events that bring people together in a celebration of Yiddish culture – singing together, dancing, jam sessions, a tish on Saturday night with traditional food, a “kabaret” provided by participants, and a “groyse orkester” finale.

Last year we interviewed Phil Tomlinson one of the key organisers and the 2014 Artistic Director Christian Dawid and that feature can be heard here

  Kleznorth info:

Date: Fri 20 - Sun 22 Mar
Venue: Youlgreave, Derbyshire.
Price: £65-50


Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Orchestra of Exiles: The founding of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

This very special event's programme will include a personal video message from IPO conductor Zubin Mehta, BBC's producer Jill White will share highlights of 50th anniversary Radio 4 documentary, Mira Ross, daughter of the extraordinary Zvi Haftel, first concertmaster, who brought Zubin Mehta and a host of other international artists to play in Israel will be there for you to meet and there will be an amazing exhibition about Zvi from the IPO. As well as this star cast, there will also be a screening of  the acclaimed film ‘Orchestra of Exiles’. Book now to ensure you have your place in this highlight of the cultural calendar. We interviewed Mira Ross for our podcast on this prestigious event and this also includes a personal message from the IPO's Musical Director for life, Zubin Mehta. This can be heard here

  Event info:

Date: Wed 11 Mar
Time: 7.30pm-10pm
Venue: Central Synagogue
Price: £15


JMI is proud to have Rachel Weston leading a session at Harow Limmud 2015. Following on from the incredible success of Harrow Day Limmud in 2011 and 2013 returns for a stimulating and inspiring day-long cultural event in Limmud’s unique style offering a variety of sessions at any one time. There is something for everyone, young and old and from all backgrounds. You can participate in text study, discussions, debates, workshops, art and music, singing and much more. In JMI Rachel will lead an interactive singing workshop focusing on contemporary Yiddish song and it's relationship to traditional folk repertoire. Rachel will be a programme that includes Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen, Alex Brummer, Lord Danny Finkelstein, Simon Hochhauser, Clive Lawton, Olivia Marks-Woldman, Simon Rocker and the Shabbaton Choir. So early booking is recommended.

  Limmud info:  

Date: Sun 15 March
Time: 10am-5.15pm
Venue: JFS
Price: Various


Album Launch

Twice seen at Klezmer in the Park, firm touring favourites internationally, and spearheading leaders of the growing Yiddish Twist scene, The Yiddish Twist Orchestra comes home to the East End to perform a special concert show to launch their long-awaited début release album long-player Let's!  Expect a cult programme of gems, favourites, Twists and new classic compositions. The Orchestra's trademark driving beat will be much in evidence, although romance is also been catered-for - twistsinger Natty Bo and the entire ensemble invite you to 'Let's Yiddish Twist'. To hear a previous interview we did with Ben Mandelson of Yiddish Twist Orchestra for Klezmer in the Park. Please listen back here

  Concert info:

Date: Thu 19 Mar
Time: 8pm
Venue: Rich Mix, Bethnal Green
Price: £10/8


Music Fair 2015 

Alyth Music Fair is back again for another day packed full of music on every level and from every angle. Choose from 30 Jewish music sessions throughout the day with a chance to perform, participate, listen, learn, socialise, network, eat, drink and have a stimulating or relaxing day depending on your mood. Some of Britain’s finest Jewish musicians will inspire and teach a vast array of workshops and with a long list of musicians, music scholars and song leaders that features names such as Viv Bellos, Cantor Jaclyn Chernett, Cantor Zoe Jacobs, Alexander Knapp, Malcolm Miller, Merlin and Polina Shepherd, Judith Silver, Chani Smith, Rachel Weston and Benjamin Wolf, you couldn’t find a more music filled and fun packed day, anywhere else. Early booking is recommended. 

  Fair info:

Date: Sun 12 Apr
Time: 10am-6pm
Venue: North Western Reform Synagogue, Alyth Gardens London NW11 7EN
Price: £15-30


Evening for Jewish Renaissance:

Virtuoso Violinist Irmina Trynkos and pianist Marco Fatichenti will be performing:
Brahms' Sonata No.3 in D Minor
Waghalter's Sonata in F Minor
Nigun from Bloch's Baal Shem
Prelude No.1 by Gershwin/Heifetz 
Schindler's List Theme by Williams
Ravel's Tzigane
TV music producer Rodney Greenberg will introduce the evening and talk to Irmina about her discovery of the neglected Jewish composer Waghalter. The concert is followed by a canapé reception.
You can hear Irmina playing and talking about Waghalter here

  Concert info:

Date: Tue 10 Mar 
Time: 7pm
Venue: Lauderdale House
Price: £35 / £25 for JMI

Quote "JMI subscriber" to receive your discount.

Exiles Cafe 

Little-known in this country, in her native US Lara Downes is seen as a trailblazer – merging fascinating concepts, music and speech to reinvent the solo piano recital. Exiles Café, a project that came out of her recent, acclaimed album for Steinway Records, is performed here in London for the first time. That most Jewish of themes – exile – is explored from the unusual viewpoint of the cafes and bars where composers in exile would meet and be cheered by fellow wanderers. But the Exiles Café is also a place of the mind, where exiles of different eras meet and collide and share experiences, through their music. Central Synagogue’s Wolfson Hall will be transformed into a café for the evening, with the piano in its centre amidst the tables. And all are invited to imagine as Lara Downes plays host to the music of Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Kurt Weill, Korngold, Chopin, Martinu and Milhaud. And the evening’s climax is the spiritual acceptance of a new life in the New World, with a performance of George Gershwin’s love letter to America, Rhapsody In Blue.

“Luscious, moody and dreamy” – the New York Times on Lara Downes’s newest album
“A magnetic force, wrapped in flawless technique and a silken touch” – Musical Toronto

  Concert Info: 

Date: Wed 24 Mar
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Central Synagogue
Price: £20


Events by Date

Antonii Baryshevskyi 
Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition Winner's Recital
Wigmore Hall
Mar 2nd
Details and tickets here 

Mahler's Titan 
The Arensky Chamber Orchestra: Mahler's Titan
The Forge Camden 

Mar 3rd
Details and Tickets here

Lunchtime Recital
Mar 4th
Tickets and details here

Mar 7th
Tickets and details here

Mendelssohn: Elijah 
Mar 10th
Tickets and details here

Michael Tilson Thomas
Mar 12th
Tickets and details here 

Klezmer Ceilidh 
Featuring French Israeli Klezmer band: Freylekhs Brider
Followed by discussion, includes food
Mar 15th
Details and booking here Tel: 07779 206522.
Jewish Community Centre
4 Salisbury Road
EH16 5AB

Chaos Collective
Vortex Jazz Club
Mar 15th
Details and tickets here

Pacifica Quartet play Shulamit Ran
Wigmore Hall
Mar 16th
Details and tickets here

World Jazz Jam
Mar 18th
Vortex Jazz Club
Details and tickets here

Vladimir Askhenazy 
Mar 19th
Tickets and details here

London Tango Orchestra
Mar 19th
Tickets and details here

Southbank Sinfonia plays Britten and Korngold (pictured)
Mar 20th
Tickets and Details here

Ian Shaw 
Mar 21st
Vortex Jazz Club
Details and tickets here

Crazy for Gershwin
Mar 28th
Tickets and details here

Lunchtime Recital
Mar 30th
Tickets and details here

Gilad Heckselman 
Mar 31st
Vortex Jazz Club
Details and tickets here


Events by artist

Django a la Creole

Mar 6th 

Details and tickets here

Don Kipper
Wed 15th
Details and tickets here

Geoff Berner 
Mar 20th
Details and Tickets here

Mar 8th, 7.30pm
Celebrate International Women's day with this post-purimist journey of songs performed by the womens' band Katsha'nes. Journey back to the golden age of the London Yiddish Music Hall and at the heart of the East End Jewish culture. 
Katsha’nes breathes irresistible life into songs from archive songsheets and songbooks, produced at the time they were sung in Whitechapel's York Minster and Wonderland music halls, where immigrant song writers described their experiences in these humorous, moving, feisty and irreverent songs.
Katsha'nes Cockney Yiddish music hall and guests 
Sandy's Row Synagogue,
4a Sandy's Row, London E1 7HW.
2 mins from Liverpool St tube.
£10 (£7) in advance on Eventbrite with small booking fee
For more info and booking see here

Natalie Clein  
Howard Assembly Rooms
Mar 20th
Details and tickets here 

Piotr Jordan
Mar 25th
Vortex Jazz Club
Details and tickets here

Polina Shepherd
Yiddish Choir
Mar 10th
Details here

Mar 13
The Full Moon and Attic Bar
Bristol, UK

Mar 19
Brudenell Social Club
Leeds, UK
Details and more info here

The Jewish Monkeys 
Mar 19th
The Forge Camden
Details and tickets here

SOAS Klezmer Band  
Monday Evenings
SOAS, Russell Square
Details here

nterview with Josh, Isis and Fran here

Bente Kahan and Zvi Haftel

This month's Jewish Music Institute radio brings you two features from the world of Jewish Music.

First is an interview with Bente Kahan, a Norwegian Jewish musician who sings in Yiddish, Norwegian, German and English. She will be appearing at JW3 for a memorial concert for Erev Yom Hashoah, featuring songs written in the ghettos of Vilnius, Warsaw and Terezin. She also tell us about her life in Poland, where she currently lives, successfully restoring the White Stork synagogue in Wroclaw (Breslau) and that feature can be heard here.

We also interview Mira Ross, the daughter of the tireless and tenacious first violinist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Zvi Haftel. On the death of the IPO's  Bronislaw Huberman in 1946, Haftel stepped up to the challenge to turn the Orchestra into what it has become today, a world class orchestra that has played with the greatest soloists and conductors. This interview offers fascinating insights into one of music's greatest stories and that feature can be heard here

All our features and radio shows stretching back for the last few years can be heard here