Brave Old World

© Christoph Giese

Alan Bern

Alan Bern is considered one of the finest performers and composers in Jewish music today. In addition to directing Brave Old World, he has performed and recorded with the Klezmer Conservatory Band, the Klezmatics, Andy Statman, Shirim, Kapelye, Itzhak Perlman, Seymour Rexite, the Smyrna Trio, Paris-to-Kyiv, Guy Klucevsek, and many others. Bern is also renowned as an educator; currently he is program director of the Weimar Klezmer Weeks (Weimar) and KlezFest (London) and he teaches annually at Klezkanada (Montreal), Musica-Viva (Arezzo), Accent 04 (Cincinnati, OH) and elsewhere. His compositions have received awards in the USA, Europe and Israel. In 2003 he received commissions from the European Association for Jewish Culture and the Mary Flagler Trust Fund and gave the prestigious Paul Lectures in Jewish Studies at Indiana University. Bern also writes and directs music for theater and modern dance. He holds an M.A. in philosophy and has received a doctorate degree in classical composition at the Cincinnati Conservatory. A native of Bloomington, Indiana, he lived for many years in Boston and has been based in Berlin since 1987.


Kurt Bjorling

Kurt Bjorling has been musical director of the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble since 1984 and he has also toured and recorded with the Klezmatics (New York). Kurt has composed two pieces for orchestra and soloists: in December 1991 he appeared as guest soloist with the Concordia Chamber Symphony at New York's Lincoln Center, performing a "Suite of Yiddish Music," which was commissioned from him for the occasion and in June 1998 his "Concertino on Klezmer Music Themes" was performed by the Huntington Symphony with members of the Cincinnati Klezmer Project. Kurt has taught music at the annual Yiddish Folk Arts Program sponsored by the YIVO Institute and Living Traditions, at the Multicultural Folk Arts Center's klezmer music camp at Buffalo Gap, West Virginia, and at numerous European festivals and workshops including the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, Poland and the Jüddishe Kulturtage in Berlin, Germany. Kurt studied clarinet with Lloyd Scott, and with Larry Combs at Northwestern University. In addition to his involvement with Yiddish music, he has been active playing jazz, chamber music and various styles of ethnic folk music, as well as arranging and performing music for theater.


Michael Alpert

Michael Alpert has been a pioneering figure in the current renaissance of East European Jewish klezmer music for 25 years, and is internationally known for his performances and recordings with Brave Old World, Khevrisa, Kapelye, and David Krakauer. Raised in a Yiddish-speaking family, he is considered the finest traditional Yiddish singer of his generation, and is noted for his original Yiddish songs on contemporary themes. Alpert was musical director of the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) Great Performances special "Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler's House" (1996 Emmy and Rose d'Or Awards) and its subsequent concert tours, and executive producer of the resulting CDs. A former research associate at New York's YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Alpert has conducted extensive documentation of traditional Jewish music and dance throughout North America and Europe. He is active as a scholar, producer and educator in the Jewish ethnomusicology and cultural history fields, and is the leading contemporary researcher and teacher of East European Jewish traditional dance.

An important link between Old World Jewish musicians and the klezmer revival, he has taught and lectured at Oxford University, Columbia University, Yale University and the New England Conservatory of Music.


Stuart Brotman

Stuart Brotman holds a B.A. in music from the University of California at Los Angeles, and has taught at KlezKamp, Buffalo on the Roof, the Balkan Music and Dance Workshops and KlezKanada. He has toured and recorded with Canned Heat, Kaleidoscope, Geoff and Maria Muldaur and played cimbalom with Ry Cooder at Carnegie Hall. Stu appeared in the Los Angeles production of Ghetto, the San Francisco production of Shlemiel the First, and performs frequently in ethnic music specialty roles for TV and film. A founding member of Los Angeles' Ellis Island Band, he has been a moving force in the Klezmer revival since its beginning, and produced The Klezmorim's Grammy nominated album, "Metropolis." He toured with the Yiddisher Caravan, a federally funded Yiddish folklife show, has performed with The Klezmorim, Kapelye, Andy Statman, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Khevrisa, Davka, The San Francisco Klezmer Experience, and Itzhak Perlman, and has been recording, touring, and teaching New Jewish Music with the world class ensemble, Brave Old World since 1989. Stuart resides in Berkeley, California.


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