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Klezmer Fest: Virtual Live Edition

December 20, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm MST

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on November 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

One event on December 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm

One event on January 24, 2021 at 1:00 pm



Klezmer Fest

Virtual Live Edition

Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Dec. 20, Jan. 24
Sundays at 1 p.m.


The East Valley JCC is proud to present the second annual Klezmer Fest, which will include four live virtual concerts featuring Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi.


The virtual klezmer concerts feature Yale Strom and Hot Pstrami, featuring Elizabeth Schwartz (above) and Fred Benedetti.  Read their bios below. 

Yale Strom

Yale Strom (violin) is one of the world’s leading ethnographer-artists of klezmer and Roma music and history. He has done extensive ethnographic research in Eastern Europe. His findings were instrumental in forming the repertoire of his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi, based in New York and San Diego. Since organizing his band in 1981, he has composed original New Jewish music that combines klezmer with Khasidic melodies, as well as Roma, jazz, classical, Bluegrass, Balkan, Arabic and Sephardic motifs.  Strom’s compositions range from several quartets to a full symphony. His classical works are distributed by Donemus Publishers in The Hague, Netherlands. These works have been performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Ballet, Malashock Dance Company, Hausmann Quartet, Burdick-Thorne String Quartet, Rachel Barton Pine, Mike Block, Bordeaux Philharmonic, the Ostrava Philharmonic of the Czech Republic, and others.  In addition, he has composed original music for theater, film and television. Yale’s fifteen CDs run the gamut from traditional klezmer to Jewish jazz. His CDs are on the Naxos, Transcontinental Music and ARC UK labels.  His latest CD is “Yale Strom’s Broken Consort: Shimmering Lights.” As a collaborator, Strom has had numerous world-renowned partners performing from Carnegie Hall to the United Nations General Assembly to the Kennedy Center, with such artists as: Andy Statman, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Alicia Svigals, Joel Rubin, Hankus Netsky, Peter Sprague, Mike Block, Samir Chatterjee, Salman Ahmad, Muszikas, Marta Sebastyen, Gavin Rossdale, Damian Draghici, Sara Caswell and Kalman Balogh and many others.
Strom has also directed nine award-winning documentary films, written 13 books and two audio dramas. The latest audio drama is Debs in Canton starring Phil Proctor. Strom’s next book comes out in November to be published in English, Yiddish and Swedish called “Shloyml Boyml’s Lucky Dreydl.” His latest documentary film is “American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs.” Currently, Strom is developing a musical about the life of artist Marc Chagall with the San Diego Repertory Theatre.
Strom is currently artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University, a position created for him in 2006.  Prior to this, he taught at New York University.

Elizabeth Schwartz

From her many appearances with Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi and as a solo artist, Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) has built a loyal following among fans, critics and collaborators. Her first recording of Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino vocals for the Naxos World label, “Garden of Yidn”,
debuted on Canada's Mundial Top World Music poll. It was hailed as “a landmark in modern Yiddish song” (Sing Out! Magazine). Her vocals can be heard on the soundtracks for the films “L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!”, “Rumenye, Rumenye”, “Searching for Schwartz” and “American Socialist: The Life & Times of Eugene Victor Debs”. Beyond "Garden of Yidn", her recordings include “Café Jew Zoo” (Naxos World), " Dveykes (Adhesion)” (Global Village Music) "The
Absolutely Complete Klezmer II" (Transcontinental), "Borsht with Bread, Brothers" (Montreal
Gazette, Top Ten World Music Recordings), "The Devil's Brides,” “City of the Future” and “Yale Strom’s Broken Consort: Shimmering Lights.” (ARC Music UK)
In a historic, barrier-breaking concert, Schwartz was the first woman invited to sing in New York City’s 125 year-old, landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue. She performs regularly across North America and Europe in venues ranging from jazz clubs to concert halls (including Carnegie Hall), as well as synagogues and festivals. Musical collaborations have included Alicia Svigals, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Salman Ahmad, Samir Chatterjee, Hungarian supergroup Muzsikas , Tsimbl maestro Kalman Balogh , Romanian panflutist Damian Draghici , guitar
legend Lulo Reinhardt, Marta Sebestyen, fiddle legend Mark O'Connor, Andy Statman, Tovah Feldshuh, violin virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine and many others. Schwartz is the subject of the documentary film, “Searching for Schwartz,” by acclaimed Romanian filmmaker Radu Gabrea.
As a writer, Schwartz co-created the award-winning audio drama “The Witches of Lublin” and contributed a chapter on klezmer vocal technique to “Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer” (Scarecrow Press). Her recipes of Jewish food can be found on www.theweiserkitchen.com, “A
Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe” (Jossey-Bass) and “It’s Always About the Food” (Harper Collins).

Fred Benedetti

Fred Benedetti was born in Sasebo, Japan, and began playing the guitar at the age of 9.
In 1986 he was one of the 12 guitarists chosen worldwide to perform in the Master Class of Andres Segovia at USC.
Fred has performed in the United States, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, Taiwan and Mexico.
Equally at home playing classical music or contemporary music, he records on the SBE label and Domo Records with five noted ensembles: Camarada (chamber ensemble),
Keltik Kharma (a celtic band); The Odeum Guitar Duo, given the honor by the magazine, Acoustic Guitar, as being one of the 10 best independently produced guitar
CDs for the year 2000; Blurring the Edges; a recipient of the 1994 San Diego Music Awards “Best Pop-Jazz” album of the year featuring jazz musicians Peter,Tripp, and
Hall Sprague;and the acclaimed Benedetti/Svoboda Guitar Duo.

As a BMI-affiliated composer, Fred has written numerous contemporary pieces for the international CD library company Network Productions and as a studio musician for 20 years his playing is featured on over 100 CDs, numerous movie soundtracks, and TV commercials. He
has shared the stage with Mason Williams, Eric Johnson, Doc Watson, Albert Lee, Doyle Dykes, Dan Crary, Art Garfunkel, Basia, Michael Franks, Mark O’Connor, Michael
Hedges, and Ottmar Liebert, and has recorded with Willie Nelson, Juice Newton, Paul Overstreet, Patty Loveless, Tom Barabas, Big Mountain, Matthew Lien, Ronny Robbins and William Lee Golden. He has performed for dignitaries such as the King and Queen ofMalaysia, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ravi Shankar. Fred performs on guitars built by Miguel Rodriguez, Jose Ramirez, Simon Marty, James Goodall, Gioachino Giussani, Andy Powers, Bob Taylor.Peter Oberg and Len Laviolette. Lastly Fred Benedetti is one of the original members of Hot Pstromi, playing with Yale Strom since 1982.


Traditional Klezmer Music

Oct. 18, 2020

The opening concert features melodies from Yale Strom’s many ethnographic treks in Eastern Europe starting in the 1980s. The music will range from wedding dances to Chasidic dance and table melodies. Hot Pstromi will play klezmer tunes Strom learned from Roma (Gypsy) musicians.

Sephardic Mizrachi

Nov. 1

Hot Pstromi will perform Jewish music that had its origins in the Sephardic history of Iberia and the Ottoman Empire. The Ladino songs will cover subjects such as pregnancy, cooking for Khanuke, lost love, etc. The Mizrachi melodies will explore how these Middle Eastern modalities traveled as far north as Lithuania and Poland and influenced klezmer music there.

Yiddish and folk songs

Dec. 20

Hot Pstromi will perform some of the classic Yiddish songs of Eastern Europe as well as originals composed by Strom. In addition, Elizabeth Schwartz will sing Yiddish songs that originated in the Second Avenue Yiddish Theater.

Jewish/Black music such as jazz

Jan. 24, 2021

Hot Pstromi will present an array of melodies both composed and written by Jews and African-Americans from the 1910s to the 1950s. This concert will exhibit how these two marginalized cultures found a common creative outlet (music) that influenced each other’s music during these years.


Tickets are $30/series or $10 for each concert.

Thank you to our sponsors


December 20, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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