10th Jewish Culture Festival
Schedule, July 1 - 9, 2000
It is difficult to believe but the year 2000 is the year of the 10th Jewish Culture Festival. The special circumstances and the importance of the event allowed for its becoming a part of the programme of the Krakow 2000 Festival. This year, the Festival will begin early in July and will last for nine days. The heart and soul of the event, and its Director, Janusz Makuch, decided to fit such a multitude of events into the schedule of the Festival that it would be hard to find a moment’s rest between one concert and another; between a lecture and a workshop; and between a film and a concert... Yet, this is what makes a true Festival, is it not?!
This year’s plans include as many as two daily concerts (most of these are held in the Bagatela Theatre, others in the Tempel Synagogue,) film presentations going out of the Wanda cinema and expanding to the Graffiti Summer Cinema, meetings, promotion of books, and exhibitions. Among the books promoted, there will be the guide to the Jewish Krakow by Henryk Halkowski, and the collection of Pieœni Jidysz (Yiddish Songs). Side by side with the traditional paper-cuts, the exhibitions will include sculptures and paintings by Leon Levkovitch, and photographs by Erwin Schenklebach from Jerusalem.
Among this year’s guests of the Festival there will be good old friends, and also those who will arrive in Krakow for the first time. Yet the first prevail over the latter: after all, friends should be the ones who come to your birthday. Everything will begin with a traditional concert of cantors. This year, the just renovated interior of the Tempel Synagogue will resound with the voices of Benzion Miller and Alberto Mizrachi: Jewish cantors famous all over the world, who opened also the 8th Festival. Benzion Miller was only 18 when he became the cantor of the Jewish Centre Synagogue in New York’s Hillside. This year he will conduct a series of lectures on Hassidic Singing. It was him who participated in the most unusual concert during the 8th Festival: Miller was invited from among the audience to sing together with Frank London and his Hassidic New Wave in the Bagatela Theatre. Alberto Mizrachi, a tenor born in Greece, called the Pavarotti of the Bimah, sings his repertoire in nine languages: these are leading operatic roles, Sephardic songs, and jazz. The cantors will be accompanied by The Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir (Israel) whose director and conductor is Elli Jaffe: a composer and member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Honorary Conductor of the Prague Symphonic Orchestra, a student of Leonard Bernstein and Igor Markievitch. The choir has performed in the prime concert halls of the world.
Monday (3rd July) will be the day of Nina Stiller’s performance in the Bagatela Theatre. She won numerous awards, including the First Prize of the Polish Competition of Jewish Song (1999). In her Eyes... is the title of her recital presenting Jewish songs: folk, popular, and religious.
Among the artists playing in the second concert, we will hear Uri Caine Ensemble. Last year Uri Caine performed together with Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg. The artist composes works combining elements of jazz and the classical music. He remained under a great influence of Mahler, Wagner, and Bach, and in 1992 reached the finals of the competition for the best American jazz pianist. This year, he will play with Don Byron: a clarinet player and composer, who wrote the scores for Robert Altman’s Kansas City, Paul Auster’s Lulu on the Bridge, the Tom and Jerry cartoon, and other films. The musicians will present music composed by Gustav Mahler and interpreted in the extraordinary project known as Primal Light.
The Tuesday music evening will begin with an already traditional meeting with Leopold Kozłowski: the last Klezmer of Galicia and his guests: Marta Bizoñ, Katarzyna Jamróz, Renata Œwierszczyñska, and Andrzej Róg. The second meeting will be held on Thursday (6th July) in Klezmer Hois restaurant. The next concert will be given by the Brave Old World perfectly-well known in Krakow, with its vocalist and violinist, Michael Alpert - probably the person most admired by the patrons of the Festival. This year Alpert and Leopold Kozłowski will together conduct the workshop in the Klezmer tradition.
A Krakow-based band will begin the first of the two Wednesday concerts held in the synagogue: Jascha Liberman Trio are a band who have already been noticed in our city. Their repertoire includes the traditional music of the Ashkenazic Jews, Balkan music, and music composed by the band’s leader: Jascha Liberman.
At 8.30 The Andy Statman Quartet, will perform. Its founder, Andy Statman, a clarinet and mandolin player performed in Krakow in 1997. Already at the age of 17 he was a recognised mandolin player, a performer of the fashionable country-bluegrass music, who practised with Dave Tarras: the legendary Klezmer clarinet player. He is heard in more than 100 records, apart from those, he composed the scores for two films and gave concerts with Itzhak Perlman, a violinist of world renown. Statman moves with considerable ease over all musical styles: his experiments are an attempt to express the world he lives in, including its religious sphere.
Bente Kahan is a Norwegian and Israeli actress who will present her interpretations of Mordechaj Gebirtig’s songs. She will be accompanied by Dariusz Swinoga and Mirosław KuŸniak, the latter regularly performing in the Warsaw Jewish Theatre.
The programme of the jubilee Festival cannot just leave out a concert by Kroke. The band, established in 1992, has performed on numerous major music stages and festivals all over Europe. The band has released three records, the last of them being titled The Sounds of Vanishing World.
The Friday night in Bagatela will begin with the music played by another Krakow guest: The Cracow Klezmer Band, who performed last year in the Festival, together with Beata Czernecka, an artist of the Piwnica pod Baranami. At present, the band plays music based on their own compositions, devised mostly by Jarosław Baster, who combines elements of Klezmer, Balkan, jazz, and also classical music. The guest of the evening will be Dave Krakauer’s Klezmer Madness! visiting our city for the fifth time. David Krakauer, a clarinet player of world renown, is famous for his interpretations of a variety of traditions ranging from the classical music, via Klezmer, to the contemporary avant-garde. The music he plays with Klezmer Madness! combines the traditional Klezmer sound with the original compositions and improvisations, building up a new reflection of the Jewish experience. Krakauer collaborated with the New York Philomusica, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Klezmatics, and also with John Zorn and John Cage.
The Saturday - as usual - will gather us all for the great Finale in Szeroka Street. The performers will include: The Klezmer Conservatory Band, Dave Krakauer Klezmer Madness!, Taraf de Haidouks, Jascha Liberman Trio, Jeff Warshauer & Deborah Strauss Duo. The Klezmer Conservatory Band is the largest big-band Klezmer orchestra, as it is composed of 12 instrumentalists conducted by Hankus Netsky. They were also the first Klezmer band to visit Krakow after the World War II. Their performance always meets enthusiastic welcome from the public. Taraf de Haidouks were invited to participate in the Festival already in 1999, yet they did not manage to arrive then. This is a 14-person-strong Gypsy band from the village of Clejani (Romania). They play music that is vital for the Gypsy life: it accompanies births, baptisms, weddings, and funerals. The musicians draw from the rhythms of the Balkans, Serbs, Turks, and Jews, moreover, they are exceptionally skilled at improvising. Appearing during the Finale, there will also be the violinist, Deborah Strauss, and Jeff Warshauer, guitar and mandolin player, and a singer: the two can easily be called regular guests of the Festival. The longest final concert lasted for eight hours and was recorded in a film devoted to Itzhak Perlman, who was a guest of the 1995 Festival. Will the record be broken this year? Each of the concerts gathers crowds of happy people: dancing and enjoying themselves. The event is of special significance both for the spectators and the artists.
Tickets are available from the Cultural Information Centre at 2 Œw. Jana Street, and at the door before the concerts.
Inagural Concert zł 150/80
Concerts at Bagatela Theatre zł 70, ticket for all concerts zł 350 (apart from accompanyning event )
Leopold Kozłowski zł 100
Workshop zł 7
Discovering Kazimierz admission free
Supported financially by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage