Current members of the Tucson klezmer group include (from left) Jeff Holsen, double-bass, Jay Vosk, clarinet, Michael Fan, violin, and Matt Mitchell, guitar.
Current members of the Tucson klezmer group include (from left) Jeff Holsen, double-bass, Jay Vosk, clarinet, Michael Fan, violin, and Matt Mitchell, guitar.

The happy sounds of klezmer music will enliven the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (July 16). The Klezmopolitans, that fearless phalanx of four, will offer a collection of Yiddish Folk Songs, Yiddish Pop Songs, Jewish Jazz Standards, Israeli songs, waltzes, Freilachs/Bulgars and Romanian horas as well as classic klezmer songs like Tumbalalaika, Reb Dovidl and Hava Nagila.

Klezmer music emanates from the musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe.  It is essentially dance music influenced by Romanian folk songs with Greek, Ukranian and Turkish overtones.  The Romanian influence is strong, imitating the human voice, especially laughing and sobbing.  Its origins were Jewish celebrations, mainly weddings, in Eastern Europe, but composers like Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland were influenced by the klezmeric forms and traditions, as was Gustav Mahler.

The Klezmopolitans began in 1984 as The Borderlands Klezmer Band and segued into their new name because of the cosmopolitan nature of the music they play.  Although the group continues to concentrate on klezmer and Jewish music, they also now include jazz standards, classical, Eastern European and gypsy music in their performances.

Jay Vosk, clarinet, is a founding member of the band.  He triples on flute and alto sax as well.  He is associate professor in Music Theory at Pima College with a bachelor of music degree in Composition from the Eastman School and a master of music degree from the University of Michigan.

Matt Mitchell, guitar, has received many awards and recognitions including the Tucson Jazz Society’s Young Artist Award in 1995 and top standing in their Traditional Jazz Category in 2000.

Jeff Holsen, double-bass, is Assistant Principal Bass with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, having graduated in double-bass performance from the University of Arizona.  His experience with Eastern European music began as a member of Orchestra Stari Grad in Milwaukee.  He also performs on the cimbalom, a large hammered dulcimer commonly found in Eastern European gypsy bands.

Michael Fan, violin, is one of Tucson’s busiest violinists.  He is a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as well as the Tucson Symphony Piano Trio.  He serves as Concertmaster of the Tucson Pops Orchestra and is well known throughout the Tucson educational community for his original musicals for children.  He is the brother of the well-known and popular Paula Fann, Regents Profressor of Music at the University of Arizona and Principal Keyboardist in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

Submitted by Donald J. Behnke, Academy Village Volunteer

[box type=”info”] Interested in attending? Click here.[/box]
The Klezmopolitans Offer Klezmer Music – and More : July 2013
Tagged on: