Hello and welcome to JMI’s April Newsletter.

As the clocks spring forward, it’s time to start thinking seriously about your summer plans. If you haven’t done already, be sure to secure your place for Ot Azoy, Golden Peacock and the very exciting relaunch edition of Klezfest.  Plus, if you haven’t already, do be sure to mark your diaries with Klezmer in the Park – the perfect way to celebrate the late summer with friends and family.

Meanwhile, my top pick this month is viola-player and composer Ljova’s concert with the City of London Sinfonia on April 29th at Village Underground. And for those you enjoy playing and singing, the awesome annual Alyth Music Fair is back on 12th April – check it out for a fanastically inspiring day of music-making.


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This month has been a great month for celebrating Jewish music, we are honoured to have supported Kleznorth 2015 and also to have had such a hugely successful JMI Masterclass with the brilliant Sinti Violinist Tcha Limberger. We would like to share with you reports recent outstanding events.
Joke Lunch
On Tuesday 10th March, JMI's annual Joke Lunch fundraising event took place at Kent House, Knightsbridge (Westminster Synagogue). The event sold-out with over 120 guests, including some of the leading figures in the Jewish Community. This event has become a social calendar highlight in philanthropic circles with the monies raised going to support students of Jewish Music at JMI's summer schools, the Joe Loss lectureship and masterclasses in Jewish music. This year, the Joke Lunch event raised a record sum of more than £35,000. Our fantastic joke-tellers, actress Maureen Lipman MBE and comedian and script writer David Schneider, had the entire function in fits of laughter. JMI are inordinately grateful to Maureen and David for their wonderful support for JMI. If you would like to reserve the date for next years event for March 2016 please call JMI on 0207 898 4307. 

EAJL Song Seminar
JMI were honoured to help sponsor the recent EAJL song seminar 2015 with Joey Weisenberg. This event was organised by Cantor Jaclyn Chernett with Joey Weisenberg of Mechon Hadar, New York. The seminar was attended by Ba'alei Tefillah, service and song leaders and cantors from across the Jewish community. All the people who attended were thrilled to have this unique learning opportunity and we hope to invite Joey back in the UK very soon. Click here for the fascinating podcast with Cantor Jaclyn Chernett and Joey Weisenberg.
All Aboard Charity Shops
In the spirit of Pesach cleaning, JMI would like to encourage our supporters to donate unwanted goods to All Aboard Charity Shops.All Aboard donates all income, generated from its shops to support other Jewish charitable and welfare organisations. JMI is honoured to have received a generous donation from this charity and the team is incredibly thankful for this support. There are 20 stores located in the London and Manchester area who would be very grateful to receive your nearly new items. For more information and to locate the nearest shop please visit them here 

The Joint Presidents, Chair, Artistic Director, Board of Trustees and the JMI team, wish you all a very happy Passover and happy holidays. 



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. The evening is hosted by journalist Ned Temko, previous editor of the Jewish Chronicle.

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 for a special podcast feature on her life, work and the forthcoming concert and this can be heard here 

The event is honoured to have the patronage of both their Excellencies, the Polish and Czech ambassadors to the UK.

  Concert Info:

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


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:

• 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 to Fr 21 Aug
Time: All day
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £120-165

Generous Early-Bird discounts are available if you book before and including May 1st 2015.

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.

  Course info: 

Date: Sun 9 to Fri 14 Aug 
Time: All day
Venue: SOAS Vernon Sq.
Price: £145-245

Generous Early-Bird discounts are available if you book before and including May 1st 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. Early booking is also recommended if you want to make the most of the generous discounts for early bird bookings.

  Course info: 

Date: Sun 9 to Fri 14 Aug 
Time: All day
Venue: SOAS Vernon Sq.
Price: £145-245

Generous Early-Bird discounts are available if you book before and including May 1st 2015.

Sing Yiddish together! 

Led by Rachel Weston, a professional Yiddish singer, JMI’s Zingt! The People’s 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.

April 21st
May 5th
May 19th
June 2nd
June 16th

Culminating in a performance & last session on June 30th
from 6.45–8.45pm

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

  Choir Info: 

Date: Tue 21 Apr
Time: 6.45-8.45pm
Venue: SOAS Vernon Sq.
Price: £10 


The Festival

Klezmer In The Park returns again to Regents Park Bandstand and 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.

12.00pm: Highnotes Klezmer Band
12.30pm: 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 6 Sep
Time: 12-6pm
Venue: Regents Park
Price: Free


Alyth Music Fair 2015 

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 at the Alyth Jewish Music fair 2015

Session Leaders for 2015 are: Viv Bellos MBE, Cantor Cheryl Wunch, Mich Sampson, Polina Shepherd, Rachel Weston, Benjamin Wolf, Malcolm Miller, Chani Smith , Merlin Shepherd, Gwendolen Burton, Judith Silver, Alexander Knapp, Robert Davis, Cantor Zoe Jacobs, Alexander Massey, Cantor Jaclyn Chernett, Yael Meyer with more names to be added.

We interviewed the Viv Bellos MBE, organiser of the Jewish Music Fair and director of music at Alyth Gardens synagogue. Listen to the podcast here

  Fair Info: 

Date: Sun 12 Apr 
Time: 930am to 6pm
Venue: Alyth Gardens Synagogue
Price: £15-30


United in memory

This year Yom HaShoah falls on 27 Nisan, Thursday 16th April 2015. Introduced in 1953, it is one of only four official days to have been added to the Jewish calendar in more than 2000 years. Yom HaShoah is the Jewish Community's day for internal reflection. It is our opportunity to educate our own children, to unite in passing on the torch of remembrance, to honour the victims of the Shoah and to recognise the achievements of its survivors and refugees who have given so much to our society. JMI and almost every Jewish organisation in Britain will meet at Barnet Copthall stadium on Sunday 19th April, in memorial for those that perished in the Shoah.

  Memorial Info: 

Date: Sun 19 Apr 
Time: 2pm-4pm
Venue: Barnet Copthall Stadium
Price: Free by Ticket only


Ljova Lev Zhurbin 

Join City of London Sinfonia for this modern-day tale of immigration from Russia to the USA with music by New York composer and musician Ljova. Coming from a family who moved from Moscow to New York as the Soviet Union collapsed, Ljova’s unique musical voice combines classical music with his own blend of Russian Folk, Jazz, Balkan, Gypsy and Klezmer. Performing on viola and violin alongside the Orchestra, this exciting CLoSer concert sees Ljova bring his haunting and exciting music to East London.

We interviewed Ljova ahead of this concert and this podcasted feature can be heard here

  Concert Info:

Date: Wed 29 Apr 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Village Undergound
Price: £15


Polina Shepherd at Purcell Room
Learn beautiful old East European harmonies and modes in a two-hour taster workshop. Release your creativity through transcendental songs, syllables and sound. Polina Skovoroda’s teaching utilises a rich combination of Russian and East European Jewish Music. Her specially developed teaching methods are based on specific sound, ornamentation and modal experimentation with attention to the spiritual and emotional aspects of musical creativity. She teaches the history and context of the material taught.
Sunday 4th April 
More details

Yom Ha'atzmaut with Sarit Hadad
Come and celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut with a stellar line up of stars including Israel's most celebrated and popular singer, MTV Europe award winner and uncontested queen of the Israeli Mizrahi pop scene. With 22 albums and a career spanning more than two decades, Sarit is still a global star. Sarit has now performed in more than 50 countries around the world, with all of her albums attaining multiple gold and platinum status and total record sales of over a million copies. Recently named as the most popular singer in Israel in 2014, she is a mentor on the popular singing contest “The Voice”.  Israel Ernest (star of Les Miserables, My Fair Lady and Chicago) will also appear with other artists still to be confirmed.
Thursday 23rd April

More details here

London Klezmer Quartet at SOAS
Back from their month long tour of Australia, the London Klezmer Quartet will perform klezmer (the traditional music of Eastern Europe’s Jewish communities) at its most beguiling and seductive, giving space to the subtleties of the original tradition whilst combining it with a kick-the-chairs-over party spirit. The arrangements are acoustic and traditional - the playing is energetic and fresh. The all-female line-up features fiddle, clarinet, accordion and double bass. 
"With artistry like this, the music doesn't need to be reinvented."
Evening Standard
Thursday 23rd April
More details

Songs of the Inner Heart
A concert of Muslim and Jewish Muwashshah Songs based on poems by IBN AL-'ARABI ‎(b. Murcia, 1165 d.1240) and ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (b. Tudela, 1089 d.1164). should not be missed. These songs were based on the melodies and rhythms of popular song in medieval al-Andalus. The programme has been organized by Mohammed Antar (ney player and composer) and Ed Emery (ethnomusicologist). This concert is to celebrate the cherished legacy of London's Fieldgate Shul.
Wednesday 29th April
Venue: New London Synagogue: details here
Booking details can be found by emailing Ed Emery


Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill: The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahoganny 
Royal Opera House Live: Rise and Fall of The City of Mahoganny, last available tickets at the performance tonight.
Royal Opera House, London.
Wednesday 1st April
Details here

Live broadcast
Barbican, London
Details here

Morski and The Odd Couple Puppets
Guitarist from Klezmer in the Park favourites The Turbans, returns to Cable St.
Wednesday 1st April
Jamboree, Cable Street, London. 
Details here

The Stewart Curtis Quartet
The Stewart Curtis Quartet with Rob Terry (keys), Stewart Curtis (sop/tenor sax & flute), Paul Jefferies (bass), Charlie Stratford (drums) 
Wednesday 1st April
Mill Hill Jazz Club, 100 Barnet Way, Mill Hill

Details here 

Dash Cafe: The Spirit of Viktor Tsoi
Legendary rock singer Viktor Tsoi was a Soviet musician, film actor, songwriter and leader of the  80’s rock group Kino. Despite his untimely death, his spirit lives on in his music which remains hugely popular.
Wednesday 1st April
Rich Mix, London
Details here

London Bridge Trio
Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Kate Gould and Daniel Tong, who performed for Jewish Book Week/JMI's shared event at Kings Place .
Sunday 5th April
Wigmore Hall, London.
Details here

Andreas Scholl
Andreas Scholl has inspired countless new listeners to fall in love with lesser-known works. Andreas Scholl countertenor, Avi Avital mandolin, Marco Frezzato cello, Tiziano Bagnati lute, Tamar Halperin piano.
Tuesday  7th April
Wigmore Hall, London.
Details here
Benny and The Cheesegrinder
Death Puppet Klezma Jam and Benny & The Cheesegrinder return to East London for this Mirth and Misery session. The emotions may be mixed but the verdict is unanimous.
Sunday 12th April
Jamboree, Cable Street, London.
Details here

Klezmer Keilidh
Expert caller Sue Cooper will be on hand to lead the dances and music will be provided by Yiddlesticks plus some very special guests.
Sunday 12th April
The Carlton Club, Manchester

Details here

Pinchas Zuckerman and The RPO
Pinchas Zukerman virtuoso violinist performs with the RPO.
Tuesday 14 April 2015
Southbank, London

Details here

Don Kipper
Don Kipper perform Klezmer, Turkish Fasil music and Greek Rembetika with zithers of Brazilian Samba, Celtic and West African music melting into their Gypsy dance music
Wednesday 15th April
Jamboree, Cable Street, London.
Details here

Katia and Marielle Lebeque: Glass and Moondog
Dubbed "The best piano duet in front of an audience today" by The New York Time, this dynamic duo perform works  of Philip Glass and Moondog.
Friday 17th April
Kings Place, York Way, London
Details here 

A re-production of Hans Krása's war-time opera about a poor family overcoming adversity with the help of a sparrow, cat, dog and the rest of the town's children. While Krása was interned at camp Terezin (Theresienstadt in German) during WWII, he adapted Brundibár for the children of the camp and the opera had 55 performances before Krása and his cast were sent to Auschwitz. 
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April
Watford Palace Theatre
Details here 

Vladimir Askenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra
Vladimir Askenazy leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in this concert of the works three great composers. Performed in the memory of Lorin Maazel. 
Sunday 19th April 
Southbank, London

Details here

Sunday Buzz session at North London's popular arts hub. Catch LKQ in concert at this free concert.
Sunday 19th April
Arts Depot, Finchley

Details here

Afternoon with Randy Edelman  
A very special one off Sunday afternoon session with award winning composer Randy Edelman. Randy will be playing some of his most famous scores on the grand piano, as well as telling stories, followed by a Q&A session. 
Sunday 19th April
Jazz Cafe, Camden
Details here

Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin
Two concerts lead by the world famous conductor with this brilliant orchestra from the Berlin State Opera company. 
Monday 20th April
Details here

Tuesday 21st April
Details here
Southbank, London

Hungarian Jewish Music
Hungarian musical life in the shadow of Nazism; the work of OMIKE's Artist Action
Talk by Ágnes Kőry.
Tuesday 21st April 
Balassi Centre, London

Details here

Klezmer Folk Train
Klezmer folk train to Glossop Labour Club. Train leaves Piccadilly at 18:48, musicians play on the train and also in the Labour Club. Train leaves Glossop at 21:39 for more entertainment on the train on the way back. 
Thursday 23rd April
Manchester Picadilly Station
Details here

Carl Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra
American Born, British resident composer, celebrated for countless works, leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in these two silent film scores.
Friday 24th April
Southbank, London.

Jerusalem Quartet
The Jerusalem Quartet return to Southbank Centre, after wowing audiences during the last season.
Friday 24th April
Southbank, London.
Details here

Ian Shaw 
Ian Shaw‘s remarkable vocal range and style have seen him breathe new life into pop tunes and standards, he possesses an unfailing ability to reinvent even the most maudlin showtunes.
Saturday 25th April
Vortex, London
Details here

Escher String Trio
Ivy House Music & Dance are delighted to launch their first season in JW3’s superb Howard Hall with this New York based superlative quartet. They bring their energy and electricity to perform a distinctive combination of three colourful works.
Sunday 26th April
JW3, Finchley Rd, London

Details here 

Iron Honey Gold: The Isaac Rosenberg Concert
The story of Isaac Rosenberg, the East End Jewish boy who became a great poet and painter and died in the trenches of the Great War, told through words and music. Featuring Michael Rosen. Vivi Lachs and many others.
Sunday 26th April
The LIberal Jewish Synagogue, St Johns Wood
Details here

Boulez at 90 
Ensemble Intercontemporain offers a 90th birthday salute to its founder Pierre Boulez, with music by Debussy, Robin, Pintscher - and Boulez himself.
Tuesday 28th April
Barbican, London
Details here

Exuberant Balkan and Klezmer band Oysland make their east London debut with a set packed full of heritage and wanderings.
Wednesday 29th April
Jamboree, Cable Street, London.
Details here 

K-Groove Double album Launch
CD launch party for the wonderful Stewart Curtis’ double CD launch party. The Brass Bottom 4tet, brand new CD (Live at The Cabin Studio) & K-Groove re-re issue (Too Loud for Dinner). This will be a party night full of tango, swing, klezmer and Stewart’s unique brand of humour!
Wednesday 29th April
Vortex, London
Details here

Leonore Trio
Benjamin Nabarro (violin), Gemma Rosefield (cello) and Tim Horton (piano). feature in this classical music series at Kings Place.
Thursday 30th April
Kings Place, York Way, London
Details here



Hamsa at Rich Mix
Hamsa unites the music of Jewish Eastern Europe, Greece and Turkey in a Mediterranean melange, taking us on a journey that crosses borders while also transporting us deep into ourselves. This super-group brings elements of Klezmer, Fasil and Demotika to its original compositions - fusing grooves of both the shtetl and the shuk. Hamsa entices and seduces with both a technical and creative flare whilst respecting the heritage of its music. We interviewed the band. Podcasts and their music can be heard here and also more recently here
Sunday 10th May
Book tickets

ICSM: Pavel Haas Concert
A unique concert will take place on the 26th of May at 7.30pm at the outstanding new London concert venue Milton Court, Barbican. Directed and organised by pianist and Professor Lada Valešová, the concert aims to celebrate the music and life of the Czech composer Pavel Haas. It will present the London audience with the UK premiere of Haas’s youthful chamber music piece Fata Morgana, a composition inspired by the love poems of Rabindranath Tagore. The programme also includes Haas’s seminal song cycles: the Four Songs on Chinese Poetry composed in Terezín. The programme will also include earlier song cycles characterised by their connections to the Moravian folk melodies and jazz rhythms, as well as the composer’s early interest in Chinese poetry, to which he returned at the final chapter of his life. 
Tuesday 26 May
Book tickets

Natalie Clein at JW3
Mesmerising cellist Natalie Clein came to widespread attention in 1994 when at the age of 16 she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians.
Tuesday 9th June
Book tickets

ECA Academic Conference
For the first time in Britain an International Academic Conference is being devoted to the music of Jewish prayer. Internationally acclaimed scholars in Jewish liturgical music will lead the programme presented jointly by the School of Music, University of Leeds and the Academic Wing of the European Cantors Association. The conference is organised in association with the international research project Performing the Jewish Archive, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 
Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th June
Booking and information

ICSM: Continuum Ensemble
Music in 1920s Berlin and Vienna: cool, sleek, jazzy and very modern. A generation of young composers swept away the 19th century and established a new kind of music that was bold, astringent, accessible and topical. But by 1934, denounced by the Nazi government and their music banned, they were swept away into exile leaving their work neglected and forgotten for over seventy-five years. Ripe for rediscovery, the exciting opera, chamber, orchestral and vocal music of Ernst Toch, Kurt Weill, Erwin Schulhoff, Mischa Spoliansky, Friedrich Hollander and others of this lost generation is performed in a festival of five concerts over three days, much of it never before performed in the U.K. These feature outstanding singers and soloists as well as informative pre-concert talks with leading experts and a reading of German poetry and literature from the 1920s. All concerts and events take place at King’s Place, London, N1.
Friday 19th through to Sunday 21st June
Book tickets here

Shirei Chagigah
Shirei Chagigah is the new name for the Movement for Reform Judaism’s biennial music conference. It means ‘songs of celebration’ and reflects the celebration of music and prayer which we will enjoy over this very special weekend. USA faculty confirmed:  Merri Arian, Noah Aronson, Rabbi Noam Katz and Cantor Benjie-Ellen Schiller. UK faculty confirmed: Viv Bellos, Cantor Zöe Jacobs, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner,  Rabbi Josh Levy, Kath Vardi, Cantor Cheryl Wunch and Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers. Gain the tools and experiences to learn about and enjoy Jewish music and t’fillah (prayer). A unique opportunity to learn from the world’s foremost experts in the field of Jewish liturgical music. Through a series of workshops and services you will explore the use of music to enhance religious services, learn new melodies and choral harmonies for traditional prayers and be part of a remarkable community. Look forward to our podcast and event page next month!
Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th July
Book your tickets

Listen to Jewish Music Radio 

This month we bring you two features from the world of Jewish music. We interview Viv Bellos MBE director of music at North West London Reform Synagogue, Alyth Gardens and organiser of the Jewish Music Fair. Viv tells us about her love of music, the history of the Jewish Music Fair and what we can look forward to in this year's program. This feature can be heard here.

We also interview Russian born and New York resident, Ljova "Lev" Zhurbin, of Ljova and the Kontraband. He will be bringing his musical mix of jazz, world, folk, russian, klezmer and jewish music to London for a string of dates including an event at the Village Underground on Wednesday 29th April and Cadogan Hall in May. We interviewed Ljova to find out more, listen here.

All of our shows and guests including, Yasmin Levy, Lorin Sklamberg, Frank London, Avishai Cohen and many many more can be heard at our radio page here