The New York Klezmer Series (NYKS) has been presenting Klezmer Music and Yiddish Dance in New York City since 2010. Originally The East Village Klezmer Series, we moved to a new home in the Upper West Side – at the historic Stephen Wise Free Synagogue – beginning in February 2013. We present concerts, music and dance workshops, and open klezmer jam sessions in an intimate and beautiful setting. Founded by Rabbi Greg Wall and Artistic Director Aaron Alexander, and inspired by the week-long Yiddish Culture events, Klez Kamp, and Klez Kanada, the NYKS aspires to present the music in a respectful setting and allow the artists freedom to present their vision. The series consistently presents world class artists in an intimate setting, in addition to providing education and a place for all to come and participate in this wonderful and often neglected part of Jewish and American Culture.
Klezmer music is the instrumental party music of the Jewish People from Eastern Europe – (Ashkenazim). It’s origins are in the 16th century, and it has evolved and assimilated local influences (Russian, Romanian, Ottoman, Hungarian etc.) wherever Ashkenazim have lived since. It is essentially Yiddish music – the instrumental music of people who spoke (and speak) Yiddish. It came to America with the immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe beginning in late 19th century, and has had a wonderful history in America, where it also assimilated American music traditions. Hasidic nigunim (wordless melodies), Yiddish theater music and Yiddish folk song are all related and will be represented at the series.
Tantsheiser (Dance Parties): Once a month or so we present a Tantshoyz – Yiddish dance party, with a Yiddish Dance specialist, and a professional dance band. Past dance leaders have included Steve Weintraub, Michael Alpert, Zev Feldman, Avia Moore, and Deborah Strauss.
We have a Klezmer Instrumental Workshop every Tuesday that we have a concert, often led by the concert artists of the day, or by Artistic Director Aaron Alexander. This workshop has been running for over four years and has developed a devoted following. We work on repertoire, style, form, ornamentation, groove and more. Often the participants have an opportunity to play the current pieces at the jam session after the concert, further deepening their mastery of the new material.
The Spring 2015 Series includes: Ken Maltz/Sy Kushner duo, Litvakus w/Dmitri Slepovitch, Susan Leviton, Yale Strom’s Hot Pstromi, Jeff Warschauer & Sarah Meyerson, Klezmerfest, a Klezmer Barn Dance Tanthoyz w/Steve Weintraub & Amy Zakar’s Fidl Kapelye, and more.
Past concert artists have included: Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, The Tarras Band, Pete Sokolow’s “Klezmer Plus Trio”, Susan Leviton, Isaac Sadigursky, German Goldenshteyn Tribute Band w/Alex Kontorovich, Inna Barmash’s “Hindele”, Brian Glassman’s “Klezmer/Jazz Alliance”, Ichka & Siach HaSadeh from Montreal, Alicia Svigals, Patrick Farrell, Elaine and Susan Hoffman-Watts, Michael Winograd Trio, Levitt Legacy Band, Strauss/Warschauer Duo, Jake Shulman-Ment, Margot Leverett & Klezmer Mountain Boys, Eve Sicular’s “Metropolitan Klezmer”, Christian Dawid, Zev Zions, Arkady Goldenshteyn, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Lisa n Sruli Family Band, Aaron Alexander’s Midrash Mish Mosh, Dmitri Slepovitch’s “Litvakus”, Levitt Legacy Band, Rubin, Rushefsky, Greenman Trio (R2G), Lorin Sklamberg, Klezmerfest with Greg Wall, Ezekiel’s Wheels (from Boston), Yiddish Chanteuse Eleanor Reissa & band, Roger Davidson and Frank London, Mike Cohen Band, Breslev Bar Band, Jake Shulman-Ment, Zev Feldman, Steve Weintraub, and Avia Moore.and many others.
New York Klezmer Series is hosted at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.
We are also sponsored by The Center for Traditional Music and Dance.