Welcome to the JMI December Newsletter.
It may be cold outside but there’s some amazing heartwarming music to look forward to. JMI favourites She’koyokh are playing at the Spitalfields Winter Music Festival on 10th December and Los Desterrados are performing a special Chanukah Spectacular on 12th December.
Looking ahead to January, our Drawing Life UK tour is coming up – and you’re encouraged to book now as the shows are selling out fast. And if you’d like to start 2016 with a song, then think about joining one of our fantastic singing programmes – Companion Voices or Zing – more information available on
Have a wonderful holiday season.

Very best

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Jennifer, the Trustees and the JMI team wish everyone a Happy Chanukah and good wishes for the season. We hope that the coming year will bring music, light and good health into all your lives.



January 2016

JMI is delighted to announce that "Drawing Life," will tour the UK in January 2016. After winning Arts Council funding for the second time, we have secured three performances: Nottingham Lakeside, Warwick Arts and Barbican Milton Court London commencing on 27th January 2016, Holocaust Memorial Day. The date for a London School performance in Tower Hamlets will take place at Toynbee Hall Theatre on January 22nd.

Drawing Life is a dramatised song cycle with film and video, based on the book 'I Never Saw Another Butterfly'. It features poems and drawings by Jewish children imprisoned in Terezin. Composer Jocelyn Pook draws inspiration from the creative and hopeful spirit of the children. This multi-media work was commissioned to mark the seventieth anniversary of the liquidation of Terezin. 

Following the preview at Kings Place for Jewish Book Week, we staged a gala performance of Drawing Life at JW3 to mark JMI's thirtieth anniversary in 2014. All information about Drawing Life, future performances and the story that inspired it can be found on our webpage here

  Tour info:  

Dates and locations:
Lakeside Nottingham 27th,
Warwick Arts 28th,
Barbican 30th Jan


Tour dates

Schools performance
Friday 22nd January
Toynbee Theatre

Wednesday 27th January, 8pm
Djanogly Theatre
£16.50 (£14.50 concessions, £11 restricted view)
Details here

Thursday 28th January, 7.30pm
Warwick Arts
Details here

Saturday 30th January
Milton Court:
Details here



Sing Yiddish! 

JMI’s Zingt! is open to singers at all levels and is led by Rachel Weston, one of the UK’s leading Yiddish song performers. Learn traditional and new Yiddish songs and nigunim. Sing Yiddish songs in one to four parts with and without sheet music. A professional pianist will accompany you whilst you visit the melodic past of Yiddish tradition and folklore. Sing, make new friends and enjoy the music.

December 8

Culminating in a concert at JW3 on December 22 2015

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

We interviewed Rachel at the beginning of 2015 to find out about her vision for Zingt! and that podcast can be heard here. 

JMI and JW3 are delighted to announce that Zing (see below) will be starting in January 2016.

  Choir info:

Dates: 8 & 22 Dec
Time: 6.45-8.45pm 
Venue: JW3


Companion Voices

JMI are very proud to continue with our partnership with Judith Silver and her singing group for end-of-life care. Companion Voices is a group of singers who can be called to the bedside of people who are dying, to share their voices and loving presence. Monthly learning and preparation sessions are led by Judith Silver, a singer, composer, choir leader and Natural Voice Practitioners’ Network member and currently there are groups in Brighton and Watford.

Join the Companion Voices group for 2016 here

The sessions will be held at the North London Hospice from 6pm – 8pm on:

13 January
10 February
9 March 
13 April
11 May
&  8 June (celebration) 2016

Price: £75 for the term. Places are limited.
Location: North London Hospice Finchley, 47 Woodside Avenue, London N12 8TT

For information and to book, please contact Naama by email here or on the phone 020 7898 4307

We interviewed Judith to find out more about her as a practitioner and the choir itself and that interview can be heard here

  Group info:

Dates: January to June
Time: 6pm-8pm
Venue: North London Hospice
Price: £75 for full term


She’Koyokh at the Winter Festival 2015
Monooka vocals/puppetry
Indra Buraczewska vocals

This will be a winter voyage from the Baltics to the Black Sea, through mesmerising winter songs, traditional Eastern European melodies and a dose of foot-stomping festive klezmer music.

Instrumental group She’Koyokh’s distinctive and vivacious sound weaves together a variety of Balkan folk and klezmer influences. Lead vocalist Cigdem Aslan is joined for this performance by Romanian singer and puppeteer Monooka and vocalist Indra Buraczewska for a magical journey through eastern European winter folk traditions in the haunting atmosphere of Shoreditch Church.

“one of London’s musical treasures” 
Evening Standard

We interviewed She'Koyokh as part of our podcast on the London Klezmer Scene and that feature can be heard here

  Concert info:

Date: Thu 10 Dec 
Time: 7pm
Venue: Shoreditch Church, London
Price: £15, £10, £5 


Sephardi Concert

Los Desterrados bring vibrant new life to the ancient music of the Sephardic Jews. They fuse Spanish Flamenco and the fiery Gypsy melodies of the Balkans and Greece with the rhythms of North Africa and Turkey, Los Desterrados have created a rootsy Mediterranean sound that is wholly their own.
'Los Desterrados take the music of the Sephardic Jews, with its strong Latin influences, and drag it effortlessly into the 21st Century with lashings of Spanish folk and Balkan soul.’
London Metro
‘ violins and Spanish guitars intertwine, it's hard to know where or when you are.’
The Independent

We interviewed Los Desterrados for an interview ahead of the last album launch and that feature can be heard here

  Concert info: 

Date: Sat 12 Dec
Time: 6pm
Venue: NW Reform Synagogue, NW11 7EN
Free: Donation of £10



The celebrated Alyth Choral Society will performing Haydn's Creation on Sunday 13 December at 7pm at North Western Reform Synagogue, London. The concert will also feature both the Alyth Chamber Orchestra and soloists and will be conducted by Robin Osterley. This concert is dedicated to the memory of the Alyth Choral Society's accompanist Malcolm Cottle who played with them from 1992 to 2011, and who sadly passed away in December last year.

Tickets are available from the society's website and all the information can be found here.

We previously interviewed the Alyth Choral Society's composer in residence Julian Dawes and that interview can be heard here

  Concert info: 

Date: Sun 13 Dec
Time: 7pm
Venue: NW Reform Synagogue, NW11 7EN
Price: £15


Manchester Chanukah Concert 

MJM’s annual Chanukah concert returns with a feast of klezmer with more than 20 musicians performing inside the museum’s historic synagogue. There will be four Klezmer bands playing with performances from some of Manchester's finest and most respected Klezmer musicians. The performances will feature the Michael Kahan Kapelye and L’Chaim Kapelye (pictured) as well as other local artists from the city and university communities.

Last year we interviewed Ros Hawley, Richard Fay and two members of the L'chaim Kapelye as well as the CEO of the Manchester Jewish Museum, Max Dunbar. That feature can be heard here

  Concert info:

Date: Thu 10 Dec 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Manchester Jewish Museum
Price: £8


Great Big Yiddish Parade

Vivi Lachs and Sarha Moore are delighted to announce the establishment of the ‘Great Yiddish Parade’: a Yiddish marching musical creation consisting of two parts.

1. The London Winchevsky Chorus
2. The London Yiddish Marching Band

The Parade will bring Yiddish into live events - cultural, social, political - where singing Yiddish songs is a form of cultural inclusion, crowd participation, social protest and political demonstration. Not always at the same time! The parade will be both flexible and inclusive. Come when and as you can. You do not have to be Jewish, political, a Yiddish speaker, a musician or a singer. Just join and enjoy.

There will be 6 workshops - once every 2 months.

They will 'perform' at marches, parties, community and cultural events. Summer gigs already confirmed, keep your eyes on the JMI website for forthcoming details.

Workshop fee £10 - £20 sliding scale. Soft drinks included. Bring veggie snacks to share.

The first sessions got off to a great start. They were well attended and generated fine music, good ideas and lots of excitement.

The next sessions will be
Chorus – 13 December 3-6pm
Band – 20 December 3-6pm

Venue on application by email:
Chorus: Band:

Katsha'nes at Limmud

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, sexy and irreverent songs. 

Tuesday 29th December  7.30pm National Limmud, Birmingham. Details here

  Limmud info: 

Date: Tue 29 Dec 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Limmud, Birmingham
Price: See website 


JMI and JW3 are very excited to announce their new singing workshops with an exciting difference!

Whether you can read music or not - Rachel Weston welcomes you to her dynamic set of six workshops. Together, melodies from around the Jewish world will be explored from ancient tunes to modern niggunim, from Yiddish to Ladino, from well-known modern composers. Join this group, form friendships, share your enthusiasm for the Jewish tradition of enjoying and making music. 

  Zing info: 

Dates: Jan to March 2016 
Time: 6.45-8.45pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £12 per session 


Leaves from the Tree of Life
Blätter vom Baum des Lebens
17–24 January 2016
In January 2016, the The Liberal Jewish Synagogue offers an exciting series of workshops and talks, culminating in a special programme of words and music weaving together the stories of emigré composers commemorating National Holocaust Memorial Day.
Shabbat Shirah: Sabbath of Song
Sat 23 Jan 2016, 11am

The Shabbat Shirah morning service inaugurates a weekend of music, featuring choral music by Viktor Ullmann composed at the end of his life in Theresienstadt. Guest Speaker in the service will be Norbert Meyn, Curator of Singing A Song In A Foreign Land – an exploration and celebration of music by composers who had to emigrate from Germany and Austria because of Nazi persecution. Norbert Meyn is a professor of German Lieder at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music, as well as a professional singer.

Leaves from the Tree of life—Blätter vom Baum des Lebens
Sun 24 Jan 2016, 5.30pm

The culmination of all our music-making in January will be an extraordinary programme of words and music commemorating National Holocaust Memorial Day. Join Norbert Meyn (tenor), Marianne Olyver and Nigel Yandell (violin/piano duo ‘Postcards from Europe’), Cathy Heller Jones, and students from the Royal College of Music for a special evening of readings, music and song that weaves together the stories of emigré composers in a theatrical libretto by artist, writer and academic, Joseph Kohlmaier.

The programme includes works by Gerhard Felix Braun, Hans Gál, Robert Kahn, Karl Rankl, Viktor Ullmann, Alexander Zemlinsky, Ernst Toch and others.

For futher information and to book tickets for the event on Sat 24 Jan 2016 visit





Rabbi Burns Night 

Edinburgh's Liberal Jewish Community; Sukkat Shalom are proud to present a Burn's Night Ceilidh with buffet supper. This event will feature Ceilidh music spiced with Klezmer from Gica Loening and the Belle Stars Band and with Robbie Burns songs sung by Rabbi Mark Solomon. The event runs from 7pm until 11pm. At 8.15pm vegetarian Supper. There will also be a raffle in aid of the Edinburgh Food Bank. Tickets are available from council members or by emailing Ticket prices are: £15 Adults, £10 students and children aged 12+, £5 for under 12's, children 0-5 years go free.

  Event info:

Date: Sat 25 Jan 2016
Time: 7-11pm
Venue: Marchmont St. Giles, 1a Kilgraston Rd, EH9 2DW
Price: £5 to £15


Alternative Menuhin

An all-star line-up led by JMI's Artistic Director Sophie Solomon with Tcha Limberger, John Etheridge, Dave Kelbie, Andy Crowdy, Sheema Mukherjee and others will take place on 10 April 2016 at JW3 for what is set to be a stunning concert.

Yehudi Menuhin had a life-long involvement in a wide range of musical genres. He was the most prominent classical musician of his generation to embark on cross-genre collaborations and his work with Indian musician and sitar player Ravi Shankar and jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli is legendary. The programme will be directed by British violinist, songwriter, composer and Artistic Director of JMI, Sophie Solomon. The concert will celebrate the musical diversity of the violin in a tribute to Yehudi Menuhin during the centenary year of his birthday.

  Concert info: 

Date: Sun 10 April 2016
Time: 8pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £25


SOAS students are welcome to play Klezmer with the SOAS Klezmer band. If you are a student at SOAS and know other students who would like to play Klezmer, please join the SOAS Klezmer Band. The band is a student-led society, with help, advice and support from both the SOAS music department and JMI. Last year's band was engaged, enthusiastic and successful. They performed in and around the UK and many of their members performed at the JMI Klezfest summer school.

If you would like to find out more information about the band and how to join, then please visit the facebook page here


August at JMI is all about Yiddish and Klezmer with our three summer schools; Ot Azoy (Yiddish), Golden Peacock (Yiddish Song) and Klezfest (Klezmer).

7th to 12th August 2016

Ot Azoy our Yiddish Language course is directed by the head of Yiddish at UCL, Dr Khayele Beer with a faculty of world class Yiddish tutors and experts. As well as hands-on classroom teaching, it also features an extensive cultural programme of music, theatre, poetry and lectures from a world of Yiddish past and present.

7th to 12th August 2016

Golden Peacock our Yiddish Song School is directed by celebrated Yiddish singer, composer and educator Shura Lipovsky. Shura leads an international faculty of some of the world's greatest living singers and performers to enable an even more international school of students to achieve their very best. Students travel from all over the world to come and learn repertoire, history and origins, receive masterclass tuition and perform to the public.

15th to 19th August 2016
Klezfest, JMI's longest running music school made a welcome return in August 2015 with a record number of students taught by world's leading experts of this rich and vibrant musical tradition. The course includes; classroom teaching, ensemble work, hands-on tutoring and lectures on different areas of study. The evening programme features jam sessions, performances and new album releases. With daily teaching held at SOAS in central London and evening events happening all over London, Klezfest is both a school and a festival.

  Summer Schools:

Dates: Ot Azoy & Golden Peacock 7 to 12 August / Klezfest 15 to 19 August
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £250-£150


Klezmer in the Peak District

JMI are proud to support KlezNorth, the north of England's premier Klezmer course which is run by a dedicated and talented team of Klezmoriim, song and dance leaders. KlezNorth 2015 was a resounding success with the very talented Deborah Strauss as Musical Director. KlezNorth 2016's dates are Friday 11th to Sunday 13th March. This is a calendar highlight for the Klezmer devotees. Attendees of KlezNorth 2016 receive a discount for JMI's summer schools giving you a strong incentive to attend both KlezNorth and JMI summer schools. More details on KlezNorth can be found at their website here

  Kleznorth info: 

Date: 11-13 March 2016 
Venue: Derbyshire
Price: See website


Arthur Smith sings Leonard Cohen (pictured)

'Arthur Smith sings Leonard Cohen Volume 2' was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe and also at venues around Britain and Ireland. It returns to London – lengthened, deepened with extra laughs and the addition of four more Cohen songs (including "the most miserable song ever written"). The show reflects on despair, decline and dementia, yet succeeds in being hilarious, joyous and life-affirming. Smith, playwright, grumpy old man, "Radio 4’s bit of rough" and stand-up comic, is enhanced by the fabulous Smithereens, a trio of unbeatably melodious and glamorous singer/musicians to produce an evening you will never forget.

Thu 3rd
JW3, London
More details here 

Rami Kleinstein
Israeli pianist and songwriter, Rami Kleinstein weaves into his music rich anecdotes laced with poignant humor with insights both into his life and into Israeli history. He will also perform beautiful love songs with his soothing voice and delicate piano playing. Often compared to Elton John and Billy Joel, Kleinstein is one of Israel’s most renowned songwriters of modern day. The concert will feature a selection of original songs from his enormous personal repertoire and is titled, 'Not Alone'
Sat 5th
Hilton Metropole, London.
More details here

Overture on Hebrew Themes
An evening celebrating the music of displaced people.

A new ensemble is coming together specially to play Prokofiev’s 'Overture on Hebrew Themes':
Jon Russell (clarinet), Holly Cullen-Davies (piano), Piotr Jordan and Flora Curzon (violins), Ariane Alexander (viola) and Richard Phillips (cello). The ensemble was formed by each musician's love of playing both classical and non-classical music.

The group will split into string quartet and clarinet to perform Brahms. Holly will perform solo Chopin. The second half introduces voice and piano duo, Rachel Weston (singer) and Kevin Satizabal (piano) who will perform a selection of Yiddish folk and art songs. Together, the two ensembles will have fun with some Klezmer tunes at the end of the night.

Original composition - Zac Gvi
Overture on Hebrew Themes - Prokofiev
Adagio from Brahms' clarinet quintet in Bmin op.115
Chopin - solo piano
Yiddish song recital

This concert is in aid of the refugees in Calais via CalAid.
Suggested donation of £10 on the door.

Thu 17th
Newington Green, London
More details here


Francesca Ter-Berg & Flora Curzon (pictured)
Tue 1st
Secret London Venue
More details here

Rembetiko Roots
Tue 1st
Green Note, Camden, London
More details here

Eran Otkin 'Reimagining Benny Goodman'
Tue 1st
Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London
More details here

Klezmer at Benslow
Tue 1st to Thu 3rd
Benslow Music, Hitchin, Herts.
More details here

Brodsky Quartet with Sir Willard White
Wed 2nd
St. Georges, Bristol.
More details here

Don Kipper
Thu 3rd
Jam in a Jar, London (N8)
More details here

London Klezmer Quartet
Sat 5th
Wye Valley Music, Monmouth, Wales
More details here

Stockhausen & Boulez
Sat 5th
Southbank London
More details here

London Klezmer Jam
Sun 6th
The Harrison, Kings Cross, London
More details here

Stewart Curtis' Candlelight Tea Dance
Wed 9th
JW3, London.
More details here

Fri 11th
Hootananny, Brixton, London
More details here

Strictly Chanukah: Klezmer Klub and Queen Salsa
Sun 13th
Finchley Reform Synagogue
More details here

From Broadway to the Bimah
Sun 13th
Central Synagogue, London
More details here

Don Kipper Duo
Sun 13th
Tatreez, Stoke Newington, London
More details here

Jack Liebeck & Katya Apekisheva
Sun 13th
JW3 London
More details here

Don Kipper
Wed 16th
Jamboree, East London
More details here

The Turbans
Fri 18th
Colston Hall, Bristol.
More details here

LKQ, Cigdem Aslan & Bucimis Trio
Sun 20th
Green Note, Camden, London
More details here

The Lost Songs of Hollywood

The classic film soundtracks of the Golden Age of Hollywood feature some of the most quintessentially American music you are likely to hear. The music for King Kong, Casablanca, High Noon and many other movies was actually written by Europeans - exiled classical composers, many of them Jewish, arriving in the USA in the 1920s and 30s.

Opera singer Julia Kogan was forced to leave the Soviet Union with her parents. Fascinated by the impact of exile on other artists, she goes in search of the songs many of these composers wrote away from the Hollywood spotlight, which until recently remained unpublished, hidden away in family archives.

What can these songs tell us about the emotional impact on these musicians, of being uprooted from their homelands and starting anew in a culturally alien world?

Kogan visits Los Angeles, to unearth and perform songs by multiple Oscar-winning composer Dimitri Tiomkin and by Erich Zeisl, a little-known composer whose fortunes took a rather different turn after leaving Europe. She meets the last surviving exiled composer in Hollywood, Walter Arlen. At his 95th birthday celebrations, Kogan asks how a lifetime away from his native Austria is reflected in the songs that are only now seeing the light of day for the first time.

We hear Julia performing Tiomkin's 'Sweet Surrender' (with Alan Steinberger at the piano), Eric Zeisl's 'Prayer', and 'Es geht wohl anders' and 'Wiegenlied' by Walter Arlen (all with pianist Edan Gillen).

You can hear the feature here

New Jewish Music 

This month we continue our radio series to bring you new and exciting bands for you to enjoy. In this podcast we interview the people involved in three exciting new projects:

We find out more about the release "aheym" from the hugely talented Sklamberg and The Shepherds (Lorin Sklamberg and Merlin & Polina Shepherd) We interview all three to find out more about their inspirations for this album.

We interview Sam Eastmond, one of two of the band leaders of The Spike Orchestra to find out more about their latest album "Cerberus" on John Zorn's Tzadik record label.

We discover more about one of London's most promising Jewish Jazz bands, Bahla. We talk to pianist Joseph Costi and guitarist Tal Janes about their inspirations and approach in combining traditional Jewish and Israeli music with Jazz. 

This feature and guests with their dynamic and exciting music can be heard here