May 3,2018 Pete Rushefsky’s Flora Hora

Pete Rushefsky’s Flora Hora – The Art of the Jewish Tsimbl

From at least the 16th century, the tsimbl (cimbalom/hammered dulcimer) has been an integral part of Jewish klezmer music. Though still a cornerstone of the folk musics of Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Moravia, Ukraine, Belarus and even Greece, the tsimbl was almost completely erased from memory as a Jewish instrument. Almost miraculously, thanks to the efforts of a small number of pioneering American performers/researchers since the mid-1970s, the tsimbl has seen a modest revival as part of klezmer in recent decades.

Join us as leading contemporary tsimblist Pete Rushefsky of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance explores the instrument’s fascinating history through a varied program and talk including music of the mid-20th century tsimbl virtuoso Joseph Moskowitz and the premiere of a newly commissioned concert suite for tsimbl and violin. The concert will open with a special short performance of Yiddish songs old and new by master folksinger Josh Waletzky.

Featuring: Zoe Aqua (violin), Madeline Solomon (piano/flute/vocals), Josh Waletzky (vocals/piano)

Location:  Funky Joe’s 455 W.56th St. (near 10th Ave.) NY NY 10019
There is abundant free street parking after 7pm.

Klezmer Instrumental Music Workshop 7pm-8:30   $25 per class, 
Concerts & Dance Parties begin at 9pm – $15
Jam Session follows Concert 10:30-11:15ish 
Full night pass – $35 (includes Workshop, Concert & Jam Session)

Pete Rushefsky (tsimbl, vocals) – Since 2006 Pete has served as Executive Director of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, one of the nation’s leading organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of diverse immigrant music traditions from around the world. A leading performer, composer and researcher of the Jewish tsimbl (cimbalom or hammered dulcimer), Rushefsky tours and records internationally with violinist Itzhak Perlman as part of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and collaborates with a number of leading figures in the contemporary klezmer scene including Andy Statman, Adrianne Greenbaum, Steven Greenman, Joel Rubin, Eleonore Biezunski, Michael Alpert, Madeline Solomon, Zhenya Lopatnik, Zoe Aqua, Jake Shulman-Ment, Keryn Kleiman, Eleonore Weill, Joanna Sternberg and Michael Winograd. He curated the Yiddish program at the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and served as co-Music Director for the 2018 KlezNorth festival (UK). Since 2015 he has served as part of the organizing team for the nation’s largest Yiddish festival,  Yiddish New York (, and he has taught at KlezKanada, Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany), KlezKamp and festivals in Fuerth (Germany), Safed (Israel) and Toronto,  Pete has authored a number of articles on traditional music and culture.

Zoe Aqua (violin) – One of the leading next generation violinists on the klezmer scene, Zoe recently finished a run as the full-time understudy for the Klezmatics’ Lisa Gutkin in the Broadway production of “Indecent”, ultimately going onstage over 18 times. “Indecent” is a Tony-winning play by esteemed playwright Paula Vogel about the creation of the Yiddish play “The God of Vengeance”. Quickly becoming an in-demand violinist in the klezmer scene, Zoë is a co-founder of Tsibele, a five-woman ensemble. Tsibele released their debut album “It’s Dark Outside/ In Droysn iz Finster” in September 2017. She also performs regularly with klezmer groups Litvakus, Ternovka, Fraydele, and the Honorable Mentschn.  Known for her versatility, she can be seen playing such diverse styles as French-infused reggae with the Blue Dahlia to Mexican folkloric music with the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company. In 2016 she composed and performed music for “Song and Dance You”, a new dance piece about Black Lives Matter and minstrelsy, in collaboration with award-winning choreographer Joya Powell. A selection from the piece was performed at the 2016 Bessie Awards for an audience of over a thousand people.

Madeline Solomon (vocals, piano) is the founder and director of The Music Garden, a music, movement, and puppet program for children age 0-5. Madeline is currently presenting an original musical puppet theatre show for children, “Twice Upon a Time”, based on children’s literature. She has taught, performed, musically directed, and choreographed across Europe, Canada, and the United States for over twenty years, notably with the acclaimed British Jewish Comedy show “Tower of Bagel”, as well as The Solomon Sisters, a Yiddish Cabaret Duo. Madeline recently served as the musical director and appeared in Phillip Glassborow’s musical “Welcome to Terezin” during a run at NYU’s Provincetown Playhouse. She performs regularly with octogenarian beatnick poet Michael Horovitz at venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall and the famed Glastonbury Festival, and served as Hugh Laurie’s musical consultant for the film “Pin for the Butterfly.” Madeline developed a dance therapy program for parents and infants for the 92 St. Y and has led youth programs at KlezKanada and Klezmerquerque.

Josh Waletzky (vocals, piano) is a leading contemporary Yiddish songwriter and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. He co-produced the Grammy-nominated album of Jewish songs of resistance, Partisans of Vilna (1989), and his groundbreaking CD of original Yiddish songs, Crossing the Shadows (2001), was greeted as “a classic of the American-Jewish folk revival.” With the arrival of his newest album of original Yiddish songs, PASAZHIRN / Passengers (2017), Waletzky has been hailed as “the poet-laureate of new Yiddish songwriting.” Waletzky has been involved as a director and editor of a number of acclaimed films. He directed Image Before My Eyes (1981), Partisans of Vilna (1986), and the Academy Award-nominated Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann (1992). His newest film, Yonia Fain: With Pen and Paintbrush (2017) is a bio-doc of the Vilna-educated writer and painter. Waletzky’s editing credits include the Emmy Award-winning documentary Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler’s House (1995). He was additionally a consultant to Barbra Streisand on her production of Yentl. He has served as a master teacher to a number of Yiddish singers and songwriters through the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and New York State Council on the Arts’ Folk Arts Apprenticeship program. Waletzky was for a number of years the music director at Camp Boiberik. His father, Sholom, was a noted Yiddish singer and his mother, Tsirl, was a master visual artist. Waletzky coordinates the vocal and film programs of Yiddish New York, the nation’s largest festival of Yiddish culture (