Klezmer Workshop with Jake Shulman-Ment, Abigale Reisman, and Kurt Bjorling

What: A workshop open to the general public. Learn from Jake, Abigale, and Kurt how klezmer music is made! Bring your instrument; no experience playing klezmer is necessary and observers are welcome.

When: May 31, 7pm

Where: Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium

Patrons: Thank you to Jackie and Richard Ross for sponsoring this program at the bronze level.

Sponsored by: Champaign Urbana Jewish Federation, Champaign Urbana Jewish Endownment Foundation, JCC Chicago

Find out more and tell us you're coming here

Born in New York City, Jake Shulman-Ment is among the most highly rearded klezmer musicians performing today. He tours and records internationally as a soloist, and with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, die Naye Kapelye, the Brothers Nazaroff, Pete Rushefsky, Frank London, Sands Weigl, Joey Weisenberg, Adrian Receanu, Duncan Sheik, and many more.

Jake first began playing violin at the age of 3, and went on to study classical technique with renowned violin pedagogues Gerald Beal and Joey Corpus. Beginning studies in klezmer from age 12, he was initially a protégé of Alicia Svigals. Jake later immersed himself in related violin traditions, living in Greece, Hungary, and Romania for extended periods, becoming fluent in both the musical and spoken languages. In 2010-2011 Jake was a Fulbright Scholar based in the Eastern Romanian province of Moldavia, where he was surely the first foreigner to become a member of the famous folk orchestra "Rapsozii Botosanilor," apprenticing himself to the orchestra's director and master lautar violinist, Ciprian Potoroaca.

Working with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York, Jake founded the Tantshoyz (dance house) program. Modeled after the Hungarian táncház movement, the Tantshoyz works to revitalize the Yiddish dance tradition and the spontaneously synergetic connection between dancers and musicians. Tantshoyz has since been replicated in a number of cities in North America and Europe.

Jake has been a faculty member of the Henry Street Settlement, KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Klezmer Paris, the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, Yiddish Summer Weimar, and other festivals throughout the globe. He was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in the Folk/Traditional Arts category in 2018. His debut solo CD, A Redele (A Wheel) (Oriente Musik, 2012) was nominated for the German Record Critics' Award. His new group, Midwood, released its first album, Out of the Narrows, (Chant Records) in May 2018.

In addition to his life as a performer and teacher of music, Jake is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (CM).

Jake now lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Abigale Reisman is a violinist, composer, improviser, and educator. She is a co-founder of Thread Ensemble, an experimental trio that creates music out of interactions with their audiences. She is a member of Tredici Bacci, which was featured in Rolling Stone's "10 Artists You Need to Know: November 2016". She is also a composer, arranger, and performer in the International Jewish Music Festival award winning band, Ezekiel's Wheels Klezmer Band. Abigale earned her Bachelor's degree at The Manhattan School of Music in Classical Violin Performance and went on to receive her Master's degree at The New England Conservatory in Contemporary Improvisation. She has toured the world performing klezmer, classical, pop, and experimental music. Abigale has had the privilege to share the stage with great musicians such as Feather John Misty, David Krakauer, Amanda Palmer, Jeffrey Zeigler, Sarah Jarosz, Hankus Netsky, The Ballroom Thieves, and Anthony Coleman.

Kurt Bjorling is the music director of the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble, founded in 1984. 

He has also toured and recorded with the Klezmatics (New York) and violinist Itzhak Perlman, and since 1992 he has been a member of Brave Old World.

He has composed pieces for orchestra and soloists: "Suite of Yiddish Music," commissioned in December 1991 by the Concordia Chamber Symphony at New York's Lincoln Center, "Concertino on Klezmer Music Themes" commissioned by the Huntington Symphony with members of the Cincinnati Klezmer Project and "Barditshever Fantaziye" for clarinet and chamber orchestra, premiered by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta in November, 2003.

Kurt has taught music at the annual Yiddish Folk Arts Program sponsored by the YIVO Institute and Living Traditions, at the Multicultural Folk Arts Center's klezmer music camp at Buffalo Gap, West Virginia, and at numerous European, American, and Canadian festivals and workshops including the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, Polamd, Jüddishe Kulturtage in Berlin, Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture (Toronto), KlezmerWochen Weimar, (Germany), and 'Klezfest,' London.

Kurt studied clarinet with Lloyd Scott, and with Larry Combs at Northwestern University.

In addition to his involvement with Yiddish music, he has been active playing jazz, chamber music, and various styles of ethnic folk music, as well as arranging and performing music for theater.