Klezmer music in America: revival and beyond


Klezmer music has experienced changing musical content and social function since the late 19th. c. In the immigrant period, mostly Eastern European dance tunes were performed by fairly large groups (12-15 performers). As more klezmer music was recorded, it took on the role of a cultural buffer. From the 1940s to the 1960s, however, it shifted back to a live performance context (weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.) and was associated especially with the Jewish resort milieu of the Catskills.

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Articles in Journals

Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World


"Klezmer" is a Yiddish word for professional folk instrumentalist-the flutist, fiddler, and bass player that made brides weep and guests dance at weddings throughout Jewish eastern Europe before the culture was destroyed in the Holocaust, silenced under Stalin, and lost out to assimilation in America. Klezmer music is now experiencing a tremendous new spurt of interest worldwide with both Jews and non-Jews recreating this restless volatile, and vibrant musical culture.

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Mark Isakovich Rabinovich

Violinist and Conductor

Mark Rabinovich was Born in 1870 in the town of Zdvyzhensk (Kiev province of the Russian Empire; now Brusilov, Ukraine). He studied music under the guidance of his grandfather, the klezmer violinist and composer Israel-Moishe Rabinovich.

In 1937-1938 he was the head of the State Ensemble of Jewish Folk Music of the Ukrainian SSR. The ensemble performed on the radio and toured Ukraine and Belarus, Moldova, and Crimea.

Mark Isakovich Rabinovich died in Kiev in 1940.

1870- 1940