Jewish Music Series Returns For Fourth Year

July 3, 2018

The Isle of Klezbos comes to campus Nov. 29. L to R - Shoko Nagai, Debra Kreisberg, Saskia Lane, Melissa Fogarty, Eve Sicular, Pam Fleming // Photo by Albie Mitchell

Sonoma State University’s fourth annual Jewish Music Series answers the age-old question of  “What makes music Jewish?” with five musical acts of Jewish scholarship, remembrance and plain old fun.

The free concert series from Sept. 27-Nov. 29 is a presentation of the Department of Music and Jewish Studies program as part of Joshua Horowitz’s course entitled Survey of Jewish Musics.

Shows begin at 6:30 p.m. in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center and seating is on a first-come basis. Parking charges have been underwritten by Sonoma State’s Jewish Studies program. For information, call the SSU Department of Music at (707) 664-2324.


Sept. 27

The gonifs: Yiddish Folk Songs

6:30 p.m. 

Jeanette Lewicki, accordionist and singer for the gonifs klezmer band (Sheldon Brown, clarinet; Richard Saunders, bass) will present some of their favorite material: Yiddish folk music dating back centuries, transformed by a 21st-century lens. Mining New York folklorist Ruth Rubin’s treasure trove of tape recordings from the 1940s-60s, Lewicki has been instrumental in transferring the reel-to-reel tapes to digital form. Join the gonifs and hear songs that have travelled muddy Bessarabian paths, concentration camp transport trains, immigrant steerage below decks, picket lines and palaces.


Oct. 11

Noam Lemish and Amos Hoffman: Jazz from Israel and Elsewhere

6:30 p.m.

Internationally renowned jazz guitarist and oud virtuoso Amos Hoffman and pianist/composer Noam Lemish both have roots in Israel but have spent much of their adult life in North America. Lemish is deeply rooted in jazz and classical music and Hoffman is equally well-versed in jazz, Arab classical music, and North African vernaculars. Together they create a refreshing and compelling sound, filled with vibrant sonorities, unique instrument combinations and compelling arrangements.


Oct. 25

6:30 p.m. 

From Shtetl to Metropolis: The Jewish Musical Diaspora

Wander with the a cappella choir, San Francisco Choral Artists, from the Carpathian to Santa Monica Mountains following a trail of songs. As Jews have dispersed around the world, their music has spread and evolved. Improvised folk styles and carefully crafted new work, beloved simple songs and edgy musical experiments — all are part of the Jewish musical diaspora and are found at festivals, in synagogues and in concert halls.

“SFCA programs are unabashedly eclectic and quirky, and they always include a few pieces that even the most well-rounded choral musician has never heard.” — SF Choral Artists Director Magen Solomon


Nov. 8

6:30 p.m. 

Veretski Pass:  Jewish Women’s Music

Veretski Pass has embarked on uncharted territory with their new project dedicated to performing the tunes collected by Sofia Magid, the Jewish ethnographer who documented Jewish music in the Ukraine during the Stalin regime. Magid’s 600 recordings have been left untouched since they were created, and include music that was not only collected by a woman, but that also feature rare examples of women’s themes. The trio of musicians that make up Veretski Pass are some of the most accomplished on the klezmer scene — Cookie Segelstein (violin), Joshua Horowitz (button accordion and cimbalom) and Stuart Brotman (cello). 


Nov. 29

6:30 p.m.

The Isle of Klezbos

New York City-based Isle of Klezbos approaches tradition with irreverence and respect. The soulful, fun-loving powerhouse all-women's klezmer sextet has toured from Vienna to Vancouver since 1998. Band repertoire ranges from rambunctious to entrancing: neo-traditional folk dance, mystical melodies, Yiddish swing and retro tango, late Soviet-era Jewish drinking songs, re-grooved standards, and genre-defying originals.