Hello and welcome to our August edition of the JMI Newsletter

I am writing this on hearing the news that the amazing Theodore Bikel, a true legend in the world of theatre, film, music and especially Yiddish song, a mensch, a maestro, one of the true greats, has died aged 91. Theo was a huge inspiration to so many of us and I am honoured to have known him and played with him. You may like to read this tribute on  

Our summer schools are this month and there are only a few places left for Ot Azoy, Golden Peacock and Klezfest so be sure to book right now if you want to come.  And if you’re not coming to Klezfest but would like to experience the magic, then there will be a faculty concert at JW3 which I can guarantee will be a memorable night of music making.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Port Eliot Festival with Lail Arad to celebrate the words and music of Leonard Cohen.

All good wishes

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Happy 80th Birthday Leonard Cohen

Sophie Solomon and Lail Arad bond over Leonard Cohen with songs, stories and special guests on his 80th Birthday Year.  

Lail Arad released her song 1934 (A Song For Leonard Cohen) last September, to celebrate the 80th birthday of her songwriting hero. The song, described as "Sprightly, feather-light and witty" by the Financial Times and "A beautiful love song to Leonard Cohen" by Paper Magazine, was included as the bonus track on the Les InRocks cover-mount compilation Songs of Love and Love: A Tribute To Leonard Cohen. It was the first preview track let loose from Lail's forthcoming second album The Onion, recorded between Geneva and NYC and set for release later this year. Lail and JMI's Artistic Director, 
the leading Klezmer violinist, Sophie Solomon have teamed up together to celebrate the work of Leonard Cohen. Sophie led an all star cast of musicians for a night of words and music of Leonard Cohen, for the opening of Jewish Book Week 2013 and the live footage of that event can be viewed here


Concert info: 

Date: Sun 2nd Aug 
Time: 6.45pm
Venue: Bowling Green, Port Eliot



Sing Yiddish

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, 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.

We interviewed Shura Lipovsky, Karsten Troyke and Lorin Sklamberg from the faculty about their love of the music, the songs and the culture. To hear that feature and to book your place, please visit here

  Song School:
Date: 9 - 14 August 
Time: 930am - 8pm
Venue: LSOAS, Vernon Sq. 
Price: £245 - £130


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 and this year also and therefore we recommend early booking.

We interviewed Khayele, Sonia and Lily from the faculty about their love of the language and what they all look forward to in teaching Yiddish at Ot Azoy. To hear that feature and to book your place, please visit here

  Language School:
Date: 9 - 14 August 
Time: 930am - 8pm
Venue: SOAS
Price: £245 -  £130


Learn Klezmer

We are very happy 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:

• Hands-on tutoring from world leading experts.
• 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. We interviewed Ilana Cravitz, Alan Bern, Joel Rubin and Susi Evans and to hear that feature and for more information on the course, including how to book please visit our website here

  Klezmer School:

Date: 18 - 21 Aug
Time: 930am-10pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £165-£120


Diversity of Yiddish Vocal Culture 

The Golden Peacock song school will begin with a concert by the faculty of JMI's Yiddish Summer program. The concert will not only showcase the wealth of talent by the individual performers but also the vocal diversity in Yiddish culture.

Shura Lipovsky (Course director) is a highly valued performer and composer of new Yiddish songs. Karsten Troyke, is a Yiddish folk-bard with rare pieces of tango, folklore and theatre songs. Lorin Sklamberg is one of America's most celebrated contemporary Yiddish singers, a member of The Klezmatics and sound archivist at YIVO. Rachel Weston is a singer and song collector of Jewish and Yiddish repertoire and masters graduate from SOAS. Alex Knapp, a recognised academic composer and pianist, will accompany the singers on the grand piano.

This concert will be free to all students on both the Ot Azoy Yiddish Language course and the Golden Peacock Yiddish Song School. Members of the public who are not yet registered on the course will need to purchase tickets from our website here

  Concert info:

Date: Sun 9th August
Time: 3.15pm-4.30pm
Venue: DLT, SOAS, Russell Sq.
Price: £7.50-10


Yiddish on film 

Come and enjoy the very best in Yiddish Film with pre-screening talks with Yiddish cinematic expert, Barry Davis. Every August JMI hosts its Yiddish Summer School at SOAS, dubbed by many of its international attendees as “a week in Yiddishland” this course immerses its students in the culture, language and songs of Yiddish. More details for those interested in the wider program can be found here

Sholem Aleykhem wrote Blonzhedike shtern (Wandering Stars) about the Yiddish theatre before 1914. Yiddish film-making between the wars was, however, mostly centred on New York and its environs, Warsaw and Moscow. We look at three of these stars, in films made in New York and Warsaw.

This selection of films is brought to you by JMI at SOAS in conjunction with UK Jewish Film Festival

Monday 10th August:  Onkl Moses, Sydney Goldin, USA 1932, 80 mins 
Tuesday 11th August: Mamele, Joseph Green, Poland 1938, 100 mins
Wednesday 13th August: Der Amerikaner Shadkhn (The American Matchmaker) Edgar Ulmer, US 1940  87 mins

Students of the summer school need not re-apply for tickets as they are included within the wider education programme.


  Screening info:

Dates: 10-11-12 Aug
Time: 5.30-8pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £4.50-10


Celebrate Klezmer

An evening of klezmer superstars, showcasing the international musicians from this year’s JMI’s Klezfest summer school. This is a rare chance to hear significant players in the klezmer revival movement performing with some of the most exciting young klezmer bands around.
Alan Bern and Joel Rubin
Two musicians who were pivotal in the Klezmer revival, and founders of the band Brave Old World. Joel Rubin is worldwide authority and sought after performer, with his own ensemble. Alan Bern founded The Other Europeans, Diaspora Redux and is the artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar.
London Klezmer Quartet
This dynamic band have been in demand since their inception in 2009, with an international following. And the UK press adore them.
"Virtuosity, exciting original tunes and soulful playing. What's not to like?”Songlines Magazine,
“The tradition is safe in their hands." Sunday Times,
"Dynamic and authentic." Time Out London
"Atmospheric albums." fROOTS
Don Kipper
This young, award-winning, band play and transform a wide range of musical forms, from Turkish Fasıl and Greek Rebetiko to Gypsy Jazz and Klezmer. Rooted deeply in these traditions, they seek to explore radical interpretations and taut arrangements full of complex harmonies, polyrhythms and imaginative improvisation.

Students of the summer school need not re-apply for tickets as they are included within the wider education programme.

  Concert info: 

Date: Wed 19 Aug 
Time: 815pm-1030pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £10


Eastern European Klezmer Music from the EMI Archives: 1908-1913

 “Our famous, Jewish orchestra, you remember, four violins, a flute and a double bass” (Gayev in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, 1904)

Renair records are proud to announce the fourth of their series of issues exploring the story of Jewish recorded music. For more than one-hundred years the recordings on this CD had lain forgotten and unheard in the EMI archives. This ground breaking release of these extraordinary early recordings rewrites the story of Jewish instrumental music. Their exuberance and life affirming feeling allow us a glimpse into a world that has completely vanished.

This event will see the launch of a a rare collection of Klezmer recordings from across the Eastern Europe from Vienna to Kharkov, recorded by EMI recording engineers and now released on Renair records. There will be three presentations from the key people involved this recordings compilation with performances of the music by Klezfest students from the JMI klezmer school.

This event is free but there are only a few tickets available and therefore pre-booking is essential.

We interviewed Joel Rubin and Julian Futter to hear more about this record, the event and the music and that can be heard here

Students of the summer school need not re-apply for tickets as they are included within the wider education programme.

  Launch info: 

Date: Thu 20 Aug 
Time: 630-9pm
Venue: Jewish Museum, Camden
Price: Free (booking required)


The Festival Returns

JMI's unique annual festival, Klezmer In The Park, returns again to Regents Park Bandstand. This year we have another brilliant musical line up for you to enjoy. Come on down for a fun-packed afternoon for all the family in one of London’s most beautiful parks with special guest presenter BBC Radio 3 DJ Max Reinhardt.

12.15pm: JFS Klezmer Band
1pm: Don Kipper
2pm: Stewart Curtis’ K-Groove
3pm: The Turbans
4pm: She’Koyokh
5pm: Tantz

Visit our Kids Zone featuring workshop and activities run by Jewish community organisations. Klezmer in the Park features Judaica and Jewish music stalls. Enjoy Kosher Food, Klezmer on Stilts and much more.

  Festival info: 

Date: Sun 6th Sep 
Time: 12-6pm
Venue: Bandstand, Regents Park
Price: Free


Northern Klezmer

Come along and engage with the music that is both exhuberant and tinged with melancholy. Learn to play in an authentic Klezmer style with some of the UK's top Klezmer musicians. Susi Evans, on clarinet plays with bands She'Koyokh and London Klezmer Quartet. Frances O'Rourke on piano accordion has also performed with London Klezmer Quartet. Josie Wexler on fiddle, sings and plays with Minnie Moosika in Sheffield. The dance leader will be Kleznorth's Judith Plowman who has been running Klezmer dancing classes in Manchester for several years.
Suzi Evans - clarinet (London)
Josie Wexler - fiddle (Sheffield)
Frances O'Rourke - piano accordion (Manchester)
Judith Plowman - dance leader (Glossop)
Expect to learn about history, types of tunes, style and ornamentation. Join the Klezmer dance orchestra and perform in the evening 'Klezmer Keilidh'

  Klezmer day info:

Date: Sat 19 Sep
Venue: St Matthews, Stretford
Price: £8-25


Century of Menuhin

In the lead-up to the Menuhin Competition London 2016, 1989’s 1st Prize winner Joji Hattori and Menuhin Competition Austin 2014 Junior prize-winner Ludvig Gudim perform a gala concert with the Orpheus Sinfonia in the awe-inspiring iconic Temple Church on the banks of the River Thames. Presenting a programme spanning Bach’s vibrant Concerto for Two Violins to Poulenc’s remarkable Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings featuring Temple Church’s wonderfully restored organ, this concert is guaranteed to be a truly unique evening of world-class performance, and a fitting prelude to Menuhin’s centenary in 2016.

A Prelude to Menuhin’s Centenary is part of Totally Thames and held in support of the Menuhin Competition London 2016

  Concert info: 

Date: Tue 22 Sep 
Time: 7pm
Venue: Temple Church, London
Price: £25-35


Steve Reich
London Sinfonietta launch the Steve Reich's Clapping App.

'In 1972 I composed a piece called Clapping Music and all it needs is your two hands. This app is very helpful: it teaches you to play the piece and it prepares you to perform it live. It's a bit of a challenge but an interesting one, and you can download it for nothing.' (Steve Reich)

Saturday 1st August
The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall.
Details here
Jocelyn Pook (pictured)
Two compositions by the composer of JMI's outstanding multi-media composition Drawing Life, will be performed at Kings Place. These pieces of Jocelyn Pook's will be performed by celebrated singer Melanie Pappenheim and are directed by cutting edge dramaturg Emma Bernard. 

Hearing Voices
Thursday 6th August 
Kings Place
Details here

Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices
Friday 7th August
Kings Place
Details here

This independent festival, set up as an alternative town with nine different 'districts' to visit. Alongside the upfront dance music districts, is a whole district devoted to electro-swing, Gypsy, Balkan, and klezmer. This year, pioneers of contemporary klezmer, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, rock the district called the 'Old Town' with their ska-infused Jewish beats, alongside Tantz, a storming band whose Yiddish name invokes the mitzvah to dance. Firm favourites of JMI's; Tantz performed at last year's Klezmer in the Park and went down so well, they've been invited back for 2015.
13th-16th August
Details here

BBC PROMS 2015  
A cultural cornerstone of the British musical establishment, the BBC Proms 2015 will offer the public an enormous choice of music from across both classical and contemporary genres with many Jewish composers included in the program. See details below.

Prom 24: Mahler 
Monday 3 Aug 2015
Royal Albert Hall
Details here

Proms Extra: Pierre Boulez
Wednesday 12 Aug 2015
Royal College of Music
Details here

Prom 36: Pierre Boulez 
Wednesday 12 Aug 2015
Royal Albert Hall
Details here

Prom Chamber Music 5: Sondheim 
Monday 17 Aug 2015
Cadogan Hall
Details here

Prom 44: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Tuesday 18 Aug 2015
Royal Albert Hall 
Details here

Prom 49: Mahler
Saturday 22 Aug 2015
Royal Albert Hall
Details here

Proms Saturday Matinee 4: Pierre Boulez
Saturday 29 Aug 2015
Cadogan Hall
Details here

Prom 60: Mahler
Sunday 30 Aug 2015
Royal Albert Hall
Details here
Klezmer Jam 
Sunday 2nd August
The Harrison
Kings Cross
Details here

August 3rd
Sidmouth, UK

August 5th
Square & Compass Pub
Worth Matravers, UK
August 6th
Wilderness Festival
Oxford, UK

August 8th
Belladrum Festival
Inverness, UK

August 14th
Rollright Fayre
Banbury, UK

August 15th
Boomtown Fair
Winchester, UK

August 21st
Greenman Festival
Powys, UK

August 23rd
Doune The Rabbit Hole 2013
Stirling, UK

All details here

Polina Shepherd (pictured) 
Brighton Beautiful: workshop & concert 
Join Polina and Judith for a weekend celebration of song: a workshop and a concert of traditional Russian, Yiddish and other songs from two international performers and singing leaders Judith Silver and Polina Skovoroda-Shepherd.
22-23 August
Details here

London Klezmer Quartet
LKQ + 2 other bands at the Woodburner, Hackney's weekly folk club. 
Wednesday 25th August
Details here

Crossing Jerusalem 
Throughout August
Park Theatre
4th - 29th August
Details here