Di Yidishe Neshome
Di Yidishe Neshome are two virtuosi who take you on a deeply touching journey through the soul of Yiddish music. The duo of violinist Mark Kovnatskiy and pianist/accordionist Alan Bern have been performing together for over a decade. Their repertoire consists of traditional klezmer music, classical compositions by composers such as Joel Engel and Joseph Achron based on traditional klezmer music, and their own original compositions. Di Yidishe Neshome represent two generations as well as the two great 20th century cultural homes of Yiddish music, namely America and Russia. Alan’s composition “Reb Itzik’s Nign” was the piece that inspired Mark to start performing klezmer music – previously he was a purely classical performer – and Alan was his mentor for many years before they became very close friends and colleagues.
Mark Kovnatskiy (violin, vocal)
Mark Kovnatskiy is a widely traveled and highly acclaimed violinist, composer, lecturer and expert in Yiddish dances. He is at the forefront of a generation that has saved the sensitive playing style of the old klezmorim for the present and developed it further. While based in Hamburg, Germany, he is a widely travelled musician and educator, having taught and performed at many music festivals around the world from the USA and Canada to Japan.
Kovnatskiy can be found as a member of multiple genre-defining klezmer ensembles, including the Semer Ensemble, Engel Ensemble, Torah Images, Hamburg Klezmer Band, Joel Rubin Ensemble, Fialke and Silja. Additionally, Mark has performed as a guest musician with Socalled, Dobranotch, Efim Chorny, Painted Bird and Forshpil, among others.
Mark has worked with orchestras such as the Musica Viva (RU), Augsburger Philharmoniker (GER), Aurora Orchestra (UK), INSO Lviv (UA) and Weimar Staatskapelle (GER).
His own compositions are performed by various musical projects, both klezmer and classical, around the world, including musicians of the San Francisco Symphony (USA). His work has been published in two volumes of Di naye yidishe melodyes (New Yiddish melodies).
Alan Bern (piano, accordion)
For more than four decades, Alan Bern has been internationally recognized as a pioneer performer and composer of klezmer and New Jewish Music, setting new artistic standards for both piano and accordion in these genres. He is the founding member of Brave Old World, The Other Europeans, Diaspora Redux and the Semer Ensemble, among other world-class ensembles. Bern has also performed with Itzhak Perlman, Kapelye, the Klezmatics, Guy Klucevsek, and Andy Statman among others. As artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany, he has mentored many of the leading lights of the younger generation of Yiddish musicians. He is the recipient of the prestigious Weimar Prize (2016), the Thuringia Order of Merit (2017) and many other honors and awards. His recordings are published on major record labels and he has appeared in many films about Jewish music, including In the Fiddler’s House, The New Klezmorim, The Broken Sound and The Young Kadyas, among others. Bern holds an M.A. in Philosophy and a D.M.A. in Music Composition.
(Duo Mark Kovnatskiy and Alan Bern photo by Shendi Copitman Kovantskiy)