Klezmer Concert and Workshop
Alex Koffman, Violinist and Musical Director of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and piano accompanist Gail Mangurten
Sunday, October 22nd
Workshop: 4:30 PM: $20
Concert: 6:30 PM: $20
The Klezmer workshop will focus on how to play authentic klezmer violin, the genres and styling, how to solo and to play secondo accompaniment. The concert will feature Alex and Gail playing klezmer, gypsy, and other genres.
Seman Violins Concert Hall
4447 Oakton St.
Skokie, IL 60076
For advance Tickets, Click here or call 847-674-0690
Kentaro Yamada, www.theuplifted.net
There are many master violinists who were born in the Former Soviet Union, but Alex Koffman has dedicated his career to more than just playing music. He is a modern-day “klezmer,” a musician who keeps the flame of Russian-Jewish folk music burning brightly.
As Musical Director and a composer-arranger of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, and director of the Junior Klezmer Orchestra and several adult community bands, Koffman considers himself a “cultural keeper of a lost civilization.”
Alex Koffman received his Master’s Degree in classical music from the Conservatory of Minsk in Belarus. Because the soulful, Chassidic-inspired Jewish melodies called “klezmer” were banned in the Soviet Union , young Koffman was exposed to them in private by grandparents, during summer visits to the countryside. As he and his grandfather sang and danced together to his illegal stash of Yiddish recordings, Koffman’s grandfather told him, “This music belongs to you and to all of us. No one can ever take it away from you. Listen and learn to love it-your people’s laughter and tears are in it.”
After serving in the Russian Army and then immigrating to the United States in 1990, Koffman was advised to give up professional music and to make a living as a computer programmer. Despite this, Koffman found he could not abandon music. With the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, he toured Europe multiple times, played in Carnegie Hall, played the world’s first klezmer opera with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and was featured with Chicago Sinfonietta in a klezmer-classical Rhapsody composed for him by Chicago’s composer Ilya Levinson.
Alex’s non-klezmer credits include classical and show orchestras in Chicago including the Chicago Music Consortium and the Bill Porter Orchestra, the Steppenwolf Theater, movie and commercial soundtracks.
Recently, Alex was featured in a photo art series called “The Uplifted” (www.theuplifted.net), levitating his violin in Peter Seman’s violin shop.