Sun Feb 13 2022


Pacific Time
11:00 am - 12:45 pm


Presented by KlezCalifornia

Let Your Instrument Speak (in Yiddish), with Dan Blacksberg and Deborah Strauss

Let Your Instrument Speak (in Yiddish), with Dan Blacksberg and Deborah Strauss

How attuning your ear to the patterns of Yiddish can deepen your musical expression.

Designed for new and experienced players alike (and singers and Yiddish speakers), this workshop, offered by two of the leading teachers and performers in the field, presents fresh ways to express the full potential of Yiddish music. Dan and Deb take an approach that integrates instruments, voices and bodies, but in this workshop they will have a special focus on the pronunciation and phrasing of the Yiddish language, including loshn-koydesh (Ashkenazic Hebrew/Aramaic). Honing in on the sound of the language helps us make musical choices that support the character and context of the music while attuning us to deeper understandings of klezmer phrasing and articulation, melodic inflection and ornamentation, and the rhythmic foundations of many common klezmer tune-types.
We will look at melodies shared between the klezmer instrumental tradition and the Yiddish song tradition, Ashkenazic-style prayer melodies and texts, the rhythm and “music” of several poetry texts, and melodies with syllables that will help you go beyond “ay-ay!” Our goal is to share tools and resources that can help you continue this valuable work on your own. We will work by ear as well as from sheet music. No previous knowledge of Yiddish required. All texts will be translated and transliterated.

About Dan Blacksberg»
 From the landmark experimental music venue Roulette to the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, Philadelphia-native Dan Blacksberg has created a singular musical voice as a trombonist, composer, and educator. Acknowledged as the foremost practitioner of klezmer trombone in its traditional and modern forms and a respected voice in jazz and experimental music, Dan is known for a formidable virtuosity and versatility. This has led to performances with artists such klezmer masters Elaine Hoffman Watts, Adrienne Cooper, Michael Winograd and Frank London to experimentalists like George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, and extreme doom metal band The Body, to being a featured jazz soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Dan currently teaches jazz and klezmer at Temple University, and coordinates the Instrumental and Dance programs at Yiddish New York. He is klezmer-musician-in-residence at Kol Tzedek Synagogue in West Philadelphia. Dan is in high demand as a teacher and workshop leader at klezmer festivals such as KlezKanada and Yiddish Summer Weimar. He also makes the klezmer musician interview podcast Radiant Others.

About Deborah Strauss»
Deborah Strauss is an internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist and educator who has been a leader in the klezmer and Yiddish music scene for over 30 years. She is a member of the Strauss/Warschauer Duo, was a long-time member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and has performed with the Grammy Award-winning Klezmatics. She has appeared on numerous recordings, and was featured in the Emmy Award-winning film, Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler’s House. Deborah has performed and led workshops across North America and in Western and Eastern Europe, Australia, Brazil and Israel. She is also a highly regarded Yiddish dancer and dance leader and an award-winning children’s educator who has taught Jewish culture, history and music at New York Yiddish schools for nearly 20 years. With Dan Blacksberg, Deborah is co-director of the instrumental music and dance programs at Yiddish New York and, with Alan Bern, is the author of Klezmer Duets for Violin and Accordion, published in 2017 by Universal Edition, Vienna. 


To reserve a space, scroll down to BOOK EVENT, click on NEXT, and complete the registration form. Registration ends the day of the event at 7am Pacific Time (10am Eastern, 3pm London, 4pm Paris, 5pm Tel Aviv Check out this time zone converter) to receive sign-in info by 8:10am PT that day. If you have not heard by then, first check your junk/spam folder, then write Do not wait until just before the event begins to check whether you have sign-in info. If you have not registered on time, write; we cannot promise to notice your email if you contact us after the deadline.

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KlezCalifornia relies on donations from participants to cover the costs of online lectures, workshops, kumzitsn, play readings, and more. Donations of $25 (or whatever you can afford) are greatly appreciated to enable us to continue to connect you with Yiddish culture and to assist presenters, many of whom have lost most of their income.

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Grants for the Arts, and The California Endowment.