For Immediate Release
August 28, 2013
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Brockport, NY – As Jewish communities throughout the world prepare to celebrate the High Holy Days, emotions can run from joyous to solemn. To help keep spirits buoyant, the New York Klezmer Orchestra combines melodies created for shtetls in Eastern Europe with the jazz syncopations that their forebears found when they arrived in the New World at the turn of the last century. The ensemble will play a concert on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, at 7:30 pm in the Tower Fine Arts Center Mainstage, 180 Holley Street, on the Brockport campus. Tickets are $16/General, $11/Seniors, Alumni, Faculty and Staff, and $8.50/Students. They are available online at fineartstix.brockport.edu, by phone at (585) 395-2787, or at the Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office, 180 Holley Street, Brockport.
The term klezmer originally came from two Hebrew words referring to musical instruments. Over time it came to signify the musicians themselves, and in current usage it also refers to the musical genre — secular Jewish music — which dates back at least as far as the 16th century. The music evolved as Jews migrated from the Middle East to Eastern and Central Europe, but traces of its origins can still be heard.
As with many things, the “history is in the tradition,” notes Maury Rosenberg, musical director of the NYKO. “Music is always changing. In Europe, klezmer was all strings, but now it includes clarinets. The reeds were an American influence, from Dixieland and swing.”
The mass immigration of Jews to the US between 1880 and 1920 coincided with the development of commercial recording technology. Recordings made between 1912 and 1940 for the Jewish public have been the major source material for the current revival of klezmer music. “I know traditional klezmorim who picked their arrangements off of old 78s,” Rosenberg admits, referring to antique vinyl (or shellac) records.
After World War II, klezmer music fell out of favor in the Jewish community. It was only in the 1970s, as an extension of the folk music revival, that a new group of musicians began to rediscover klezmer music. For many, this lively and soulful music is now more popular than ever. -end-
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
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