The Carriage House Café will present an evening of Jewish instrumental Klezmer music and Hasidic song at 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, as a part of the Crossing Borders’ multi-cultural radio concert series, soon to be aired regularly on WVBR. Featured artists include Joel Rubin (clarinet, musical direction), Pete Rushefsky (tsimbl Eastern European Jewish hammered dulcimer), Rabbi Eli Silberstein (song and story) and The Cornell Klezmer Ensemble.
Klezmer was originally the ritual and celebratory music of the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe. Brought to North America with the Jewish immigration wave from Russia and other Eastern European countries during the period 1881-1924, a modern klezmer tradition developed in the urban centers, particularly in New York City, although it subsequently went into a decline due to assimilation. Since the 1970s, a dynamic revival of this tradition has been taking place. It has become one of the most visible transnational music and culture movements involving thousands of participants on five continents, moving far from its roots in medieval minstrelsy and Jewish ritual and into the sphere of mainstream culture, reaching as far as “Sex and the City.”
Joel Rubin is currently a Mellon Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Music
Department at Cornell University. For over two decades he has been one of the leading figures in the klezmer movement as performer, scholar, author and educator. Rubin directs the internationally acclaimed Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble, and was a founder of Brave Old World. He has documented the music of traditional musicians such as the Epstein Brothers, recipients of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA in 1998, and Moshe Berlin, Israel's most prominent klezmer clarinetist, performing together with them. Rubin studied with Richard Stoltzman and Kalmen Opperman and holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from City University (London).
Rubin is joined by Pete Rushefsky of Syracuse and Rabbi Eli Silberstein of Ithaca in a performance of Eastern European klezmer music and hasidic nigunim (religious melodies of spiritual elevation). Rushefsky is a leading revivalist of the tsimbl (cimbalom, an Eastern European hammered dulcimer). Rabbi Silberstein has played an integral role in Ithaca's spiritual life for over two decades, and is an acknowledged expert on hasidic nigunim. Also featured on the program will be the newly formed Cornell Klezmer Ensemble under Rubin's direction. The ensemble, made up of Cornell students, staff and faculty, Ithaca College students, and other members of the Ithaca community, will be performing music representing the New York and Philadelphia klezmer traditions, drawing on repertoire as it was performed there during the 1910s and 1920s.
The performance begins promptly at 10 p.m. (after sunset) and will be recorded for a future broadcast of “Crossing Borders,” a multi-cultural concert series that will begin airing weekly in June on 93.5FM, WVBR. The series will take place at the newly renovated Carriage House Café and will eventually be broadcast live. Denice Karamardian is the host of the series. Radio personality Aron Gutman will co-host for the Klezmer presentation.
The Carriage House Café will officially open for business in September of 2004. The mission of the Café is to promote multi-cultural exchange and awareness by providing hospitality and entertainment to the local and international community through cultural presentation of arts, music, cuisine and educational programming (often in collaboration with various community, corporate and university partners). The Carriage House Café is located at 304 Stewart Avenue, Ithaca.