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Yale Strom Presents Klezmer: The Soundtrack of the Revival of Jewish Culture in Eastern Europe Today

Klezmer music has become the soundtrack to the renewal of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe today. On Thursday, April 16, at 12 noon, violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer, and playwright Yale Strom will present "Klezmer: The Soundtrack of the Revival of Jewish Culture in Eastern Europe Today" at Stauffer Chapel, Malibu.

Strom is a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Roma communities since the early 1981. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. Over more than three decades and 75 such research expeditions, Strom has become one of the world's leading scholar-ethnographer-artists of klezmer music, history, and culture.

His klezmer research was instrumental in helping form the repertoires of his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi. Since he began first band in 1981, Strom has been composing his own New Jewish music, which combines klezmer with Khasidic nigunim, Roma, jazz, classical, Balkan, and Sephardic motifs. These compositions range from songs to quartets to a symphony, which premiered with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He composed original music for the Denver Center production of Tony Kushner's The Dybbuk. He also composed all the New Jewish music for the National Public Radio series Fiddlers, Philosophers & Fools: Jewish Short Stories from the Old World to the New, hosted by Leonard Nimoy, as well as numerous film (A Life Apart) and dance (Malashock Dance Troupe) scores. Strom is also one of the only top composers of Jewish music to carry on the tradition of writing original songs, with Yiddish lyrics, about humanitarian and social issues, as well as melodies for synagogue liturgy commissioned by synagogues like B'nai Jeshurun in New York City. His many recordings run the gamut of traditional klezmer to "new" Jewish music and have appeared on top-10, year's best, and critically acclaimed lists across North America. Strom has performed with many world renowned musicians including Mike Block, Andy Statman, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Mark O'Connor, Alicia Svigals, Samir Chatterjee, Salman Ahmad, Damian Draghici, Adam del Monte, Lulo Reinhardt, Sunny Jain, Rachel Barton Pine, and many other virtuosi.

Strom is also a compelling educator. During his years teaching at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Strom created a course, "Artist-Ethnographer Expeditions," that remains in the curriculum. He is an artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University, a position that was created for him. He was the first klezmer violinist to be invited to instruct master classes at the American String Teachers Association and is the klezmer instructor at the prestigious Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp.

Strom's research has also resulted in photo documentary books, documentary films, CD recordings, plays, and photo-exhibitions that have been seen and heard all over the world. Strom's music project is a recording of Shmuel Polonski's "Yiddish Songs for Youth," and the play Chagall (collaborating with Elizabeth Schwartz and John Malashock), which will have its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in December 2015. His documentary film, Eugene Victor Debs: American Socialist, is currently in post-production.

For more information about this event, contact Drew Billings