“She is without question one of the most important performers behind the revival of Jewish music and Jewish song: Shura Lipovsky…” Review Concert 2-16-2011, Con-certgebouw Amsterdam
“Who listens to Shura Lipovsky, also known as the ‘Grande Dame’ of Yiddish songs, agrees immediately. Charm and stage presence of the singer are overwhelming.” Review concert ‘Bonner Klezmertage’, 12-04-2012, Bonn
Shura Lipovsky is one of the world’s most renowned singers of Yiddish and Jewish songs. Her work focuses on the artistic expression of Yiddish culture, using a blend of her various studies to foster intercultural dialogue. Born in the Hague, Netherlands, she studied voice at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Margreet Honig, and Yiddish with Mira Rafalowicz. Lipovsky pursued further training in dance at the Centre for Folk Dancing (LCA) in Rotterdam, and theatre and mime at l’École Internationale Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
Lipovsky has an inspired sense of artistic direction, constructing programs and projects that focus on different themes within the vast Jewish musical diaspora. She has performed in concert halls and at klezmer festivals in London, Paris, Montreal, and St. Petersburg; the Jewish Spiritual Retreat Centre in upstate New York; and the founding of the World Monastery in Radolfzell. Lipovsky performed at the official memorial concert of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising at the Warsaw Philharmonia in 1993, resulting in her album Giboyrim un Poetn (Heroes and Poets). She opened the Bonner Klezmer-Tage in 2016 with a program of Sephardic songs, reviving her group Hapilpel for the occasion.
Her longstanding ensemble, Novaya Shira (New Song), was initiated upon an invitation by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw to build a program bridging Yiddish and Russian culture in 2011. True to their name, the ensemble merges Lipovsky’s poetry and compositions next to traditional Yiddish song repertoire. Their album Malakh was launched in March 2020.
Lipovsky conceived a theatre piece with Hassidic stories and Yiddish songs called Buiten Eden (Outside of Eden). Directed by Dutch opera specialist Cilia Hogerzeil, the work features Lipovsky telling the stories alternately in Dutch, German, Yiddish and English.
In addition to her varied performance career, Shura Lipovsky is also a highly engaged educator. She teaches master classes for vocalists, surveys of the Yiddish song repertoire, and workshops ‘The Meditative Voice’ on Hassidic thought, meditation and Kabbalah. She has taught university classes of Yiddish songrepertoire at Oxford, and serves as the artistic director of Jewish Summer Song School at London’s Jewish Music Institute.
Via her singing and storytelling, Shura Lipovsky works towards the aims of dialogue, peace and understanding. She is a member of the recommendation committee for Musicians Without Borders. Her work in this domain led to her collaborations with singer/activist Theodore Bikel and pianist/conductor Tamara Brooks. Originally called Bridge to Peace, they toured throughout Poland with the Bosnian Mostar Sinfonietta as quartet with the Bosnian accordionist Merima Klujo, ‘Serendipity 4’, they performed at Carnegie Hall in the US as well.
Shura Lipovsky currently divides her time between Amsterdam and Paris, where she teaches on a regular basis at La maison de la Culture Yiddish/Bibliothèque Medem.