Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Calumet Theatre to host Klezmer music program March 14

Poster for "An Evening of Klezmer Music with Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi" courtesy Calumet Theatre.

CALUMET -- Klezmer musicians Hot Pstromi will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, at the Calumet Theatre. The trio, led by Yale Strom, present ROMANIA RUMENYE -- a mix of Klezmer, Balkan, and Yiddish music.

Yale Strom on violin and Elizabeth Schwartz, vocals, with Peter Stan on accordion provide a memorable musical experience. Strom, a leading artist-ethnographer, collects and researches music in Romania and is one of the foremost authorities on Klezmer music and its connection to Roma (Gypsy) music.*

Klezmer music, for those not familiar with it, is folk music of the Jews of Eastern Europe (think Fiddler on the Roof). Itinerant Klezmer groups provided music at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs -- and still do. It is centuries old and draws on the music of Russia, Poland, Roma (Gypsy) and other places where Jews lived. When Jews immigrated to America, massively from 1880 to 1924, Klezmer was influenced by jazz and vice versa. A Klezmer revival which began in the 1970s has made the energetic music more popular around the world.

Composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich, and George Gershwin were influenced by Klezmer. Some say the opening of Rhapsody in Blue acknowledged the klezmer clarinet. The swing jazz of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw may have derived from Klezmer. Jazz and Klezmer have been blended by jazz musicians John Zorn and Don Byron and recently found there way into Ska.

In the past 25 years, there have been three local performances of Klezmer music. The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band performed at the Calumet Theatre as part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of Temple Jacob. Several years ago the Calumet Theatre booked
the Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band from Cleveland; and the Klezmer Conservatory from Boston, led by Klezmer aficionado Hankus Netsky, filled the Rozsa Center not too long ago.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Calumet Theatre Box Office inside the theatre today, Wednesday, March 12, and Thursday, March 13, from noon to 5 p.m., and Friday from noon through the concert intermission. Phone (906) 337-2610 or visit for more information.

This concert is sponsored by Temple Jacob and supported by a grant from the Ravitz Foundation Michigan Small Jewish Communities' Initiative of the Michigan Jewish Conference, a program of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

* Click here to listen to a sample of Klezmer music by Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi.

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