Clarinetist David Krakauer Plays FROM BRAHMS TO KLEZMER with Phoenix Chamber Ensemble, 10/11

Clarinetist David Krakauer Plays FROM BRAHMS TO KLEZMER with Phoenix Chamber Ensemble, 10/11

Clarinetist David Krakauer, praised internationally for his astounding ability to play in a myriad of music genres, will give his only New York City concert this fall, featured with the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble (Kathe Jarka, cello; Vassa Shevel, piano; and Inessa Zaretsky, piano) in From Brahms to Klezmer on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7:30pm in the Concert Hall at the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street, NYC), presented by CJH and the Leo Baeck Institute.

The concert features the world premiere of Inessa Zaretsky’s Six Poems for Tamar for clarinet and piano, as well as Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114; Debussy’s Rhapsody, Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint for clarinet and ten pre-recorded clarinets; excerpts from Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time; and Krakauer’s selection of traditional Klezmer tunes and improvisations spotlighting his signature circular breathing.

Clarinetist David Krakauer occupies the unique position of being both one of the world’s leading exponents of Eastern European Jewish Klezmer music, plus a major voice in classical music and avant-garde improvisation. 

Krakauer states, “Ever since the moment I was able to play the clarinet halfway decently I’ve been interested in juxtaposing the making of my own music with interpreting classical compositions. (In that sense I never felt the need to ‘cross’–I was already ‘over.’) It was always amazing to see how the two interacted with one another. Constantly working to create my own sounds (whether it be through improvising or composing) has helped me find my personal key to interpretation: first, always striving to be closer to the moment of creation (play the piece as if I had composed it or improvised it); second, seeking to tell a story; and third, creating a dialogue between my ideas and what I perceive as the composer’s ideas.”

The Phoenix Chamber Ensemble was founded seven years ago by Vassa Shevel and Inessa Zaretsky, and is committed to bringing great music to the community in its cultural context, as a respite from the stresses of busy lives and virtual connections. The environment of The Center for Jewish History, suffused with history, culture and art, has proven to be ideal for the great music performed by the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble and the wonderful concert hall at the CJH is a venue perfectly suited for the intimacy of classical chamber music.

In recent years, Krakauer has emerged as a compelling soloist, introducing his distinctive sound to symphonic audiences in the US and Europe. He has performed with distinguished orchestras including the Dresdener Philharmonie, the Pacific Symphony, the Weimar Staatskapelle, Detroit Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Colorado Music festival orchestra, Quebec Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, New World Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Komische Oper orchestra and the Orchestre Lamoureux. He has premiered and championed concertos by Osvaldo Golijov, Paul Moravec, Jean Philippe Calvin, Ofer Ben Amots, George Tsontakis, Mohammed Fairouz, and young rising star Wlad Marhulets.

Throughout his career, Krakauer has enjoyed major ongoing artistic collaborations with a diverse group of the world’s foremost performers and composers. Highlights include his renowned partnership with the Kronos Quartet on Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, touring with the Emerson String Quartet; performing during the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with renowned jazz pianist Uri Caine; an eight-year tenure with the Naumburg Award-winning Aspen Wind Quintet; tours with Music from Marlboro; composing the music for Offering, an homage to the victims of September 11 by modern dance duo Eiko and Koma; numerous performances of David Del Tredici's Magyar Madness, commissioned by Music Accord for Krakauer and the Orion String quartet; and performing in the International Emmy Award-winning BBC documentary Holocaust, A Music Memorial from Auschwitz with music by Osvaldo Golijov.

Krakauer and his band Klezmer Madness! have performed around the world since 1996, forging alliances between his branch of world music and a multitude of musical genres including jazz, funk and most recently, electro. While firmly rooted in traditional klezmer folk tunes, the band “hurls the tradition of klezmer music into the rock era” (The New York Times). Touring internationally to major venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Stanford Lively Arts, San Francisco Performances, Hancher Auditorium, the Krannert Center, the Venice Biennale, Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, BBC Proms, Saalfelden Jazz Festival, La Cigale, the Marciac festival, WOMEX, the New Morning in Paris and many others has enabled Klezmer Madness! to leave a lasting impression on diverse music scenes around the world.

In 2006, Krakauer co-founded the multi-genre super group Abraham Inc. with legendary funk trombonist and arranger Fred Wesley and Jewish hip-hop renegade and beat architect Socalled. Abraham Inc. heralds a time when boundaries are eroding, mutual respect is presumed, and musical traditions can hit with full force without concession or appropriation. Recent and upcoming highlights include performances at The Apollo Theater and Symphony Space in New York, The Krannert Center in Illinois, Hancher Auditorium in Iowa, The Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston, The Strathmore in Maryland, Cal Performances, The Heineken Open’r Festival in Poland, The Cracow Jewish Culture Festival, the Transmusicales de Rennes, and Jazz a la Villette in Paris. The group’s 2010 debut release Tweet Tweet on Krakauer’s own Table Pounding Records label peaked at No. 1 in Funk and No. 1 in Jewish and Yiddish Music, and at No. 35 in music sales on Amazon. It reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart and was featured at No. 40 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart for fastest sellers.

In addition to Tweet Tweet, Krakauer’s discography contains some of the most important clarinet recordings of recent decades. His first release on the prestigious French jazz label Label Bleu A New Hot One! was hailed as a masterwork. The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (Osvaldo Golijov and the Kronos Quartet/Nonesuch) received the Diapason D'Or in France. The Twelve Tribes was designated album of the year in the jazz category for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Klezmer, NY on John Zorn's Tzadik label features his visionary suite, A Klezmer Tribute to Sidney Bechet. Klezmer Madness (also on Tzadik) was one of the label's best selling discs. Krakauer Live in Krakow (Label Bleu) remains a classic, and Bubbemeises: Lies My Gramma Told Me (Label Bleu) features his collaboration with Socalled. Other CDs include the groundbreaking Rhythm and Jews (Piranha/Flying Fish) and Jews with Horns (Piranha/Green Linnet) with The Klezmatics, plus In the Fiddler's House with violinist Itzhak Perlman/ The Klezmatics (Angel) and Ayre with Dawn Upshaw/ Osvaldo Golijov (Deutsche Gramophon). His unique sound can be heard in Danny Elfman's score for the Ang Lee film Taking Woodstock and throughout Sally Potter's The Tango Lesson.

Krakauer makes his home in New York, and is managed by Bernstein Artists, Inc. He is an artist and clinician for the Selmer, Conn-Selmer and Rico companies. For more information, visit

Born in Russia, Inessa Zaretsky studied piano with Richard Goode and composition with Robert Cuckson at the Mannes College of Music in New York. Her music has been performed in England, Norway, Canada, Australia, Italy and throughout the United States. Zaretsky’s music has been performed by many notable musicians, including the Miro, Clarin, Phedrus and Cassat String Quartets, Paganini Duo, Kent/Blossom Festival Orchestra, Antara Chamber Orchestra, Lincoln Center Chamber Music II, Chamber Music Series of the St. Lukes Orchestra, by members of the Boston, Chicago, City Opera, Orpheus Orchestras, members of the Metropolitan Opera and many others. She has been commissioned by many ensembles and organizations, such as The Little Opera of New York, The Phoenix Chamber Ensemble, Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, Kent/Blossom Festival Orchestra, Juilliard Drama Division, Columbia University Film Department, Summertrios Chamber Festival, Interpretations (for World Music Institute at Merkin Hall), Meridian Phase II, Paganini Duo, Claring Chamber Players, Antara Chamber Orchestra, “Music of Russia” Lincoln Center Public Library Festival, Metapoemas del Caribe (Dominican Republic), “Alternative Schubertiade” for Composers Recording, Inc., and many others. Zaretsky received the ASCAP Annual Composition Awards from 1999 through 2004. She is the recipient of the Commissioning Music USA 2000 grant from Meet the Composer and was chosen as one of the composers for the Vocal Essence Essentially Choral Readings in Minneapolis, MN. Zaretsky is on the Piano faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York. She is the pianist and composer-in residence at the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina. Together with pianist Vassa Shevel, she is the co-director of the Phoenix Chamber Music Festival in New York. For more information, visit

The two complementary talents of Vassa Shevel and Inessa Zaretsky combined seven years ago to create the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble. They wanted to bring meaningful selections of chamber music to the community in its cultural context. The environment of The Center for Jewish History, suffused with history, culture and art, has proven to be ideal for the great music performed by the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble and the wonderful concert hall at the CJH is a venue perfectly suited for the intimacy of classical chamber music. The audience has not failed to respond and fall in love with the vast repertoire of music ingeniously organized into topical concerts. The Phoenix Chamber Ensemble performs a diverse mix of composers from Bach to Piazzolla, with an emphasis on composers of Jewish heritage with particular homage being paid to Felix Mendelssohn. At the same time, superb performances of Shevel, Zaretsky and the other fine chamber music talents who comrise the ensemble consistently receive rave reviews. High acclaim has followed the ensemble on their European tours. The Phoenix Chamber Ensemble is committed to bringing harmonies of great music to the community as a respite from the stresses of busy lives and virtual connections. The Center for Jewish History continues to be a hospitable and nourishing place where the impact of the music is magnified and preserved. The concerts at the CJH are performed as the Blavatnik Chamber Music Series in gratitude to Blavatnik Family Foundation for its ongoing support.