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Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

 “At the end, no one wanted to leave. The heartfelt music had touched everyone…” The Star

“It was wonderful to hear Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and its music director, the terrific fiddle player Alex Koffman, cut loose so exuberantly in the rhapsody. Both Levinson pieces brought to mind the whirling folk rhythms of Georges Enescu’s “Romanian Rhapsody No. 1,” which, under Chen’s spirited direction, brought the audience to its feet, cheering its approval.” John von Rhein, Music Critic, Chicago Tribune

“The most well-attended, well-appreciated concert in [19] years…Everyone… was in awe of the band’s musical talents and wonderful showmanship.” Illinois State University

“The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band…a joyous celebration of music that was—and fortunately, still is.” Studs Terkel, Author

The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band was named for Chicago’s colorful Sunday morning Jewish immigrant marketplace. Maxwell Street’s Big Band sound is inspired by turn-of-the-century immigrants whose Jewish Eastern European roots were replanted in the rich soil of early American jazz.  The band’s repertoire includes faithful reproductions of 1920s recordings as well as fanciful reimagining of the tradition.  From Barry Sister duets to the Yiddish theater to songs of the Odessa underworld, the band presents an entertaining variety of styles from around the Jewish world.  

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band has played throughout the US and Europe, including in Carnegie Hall and London’s Barbican Centre.  Founded in 1983 by singer Lori Lippitz, the band has delighted audiences for over three decades with their joyous, soulful and humorous spin on Yiddish music. In 2013, Maxwell Street marked its 30th “Bandiversary” at The Old Town School of Folk Music with two sold-out concerts. In 2014, Maxwell Street and Band Director and Violinist Alex Koffman was the featured soloist with Chicago Sinfonietta at Symphony Center in Chicago in Levinson’s “Klezmer Rhapsody.”   The same year, the Maxwell Street was featured in The Property, the world’s first klezmer opera, with The Lyric Opera of Chicago.  

The band’s five commercial CD include collaborations with artists such as Rabbi Joe Black in the holiday album, “Eight Nights of Joy.”

The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band’s newest project is the Salaam-Shalom Music Project – click here for more information and to see their demo video.


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