If you are looking for a klezmer performance with the polish of a world-class touring ensemble infused with the enthusiasm of a Dixieland Jazz Band, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is the right choice.
"The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band conjures joy from thin air while at the same time freeing the deep waters of the soul. It has contributed so much to our radio broadcasts over the past 40 years. Its live performances on "Folkstage" have been and will continue to be a gift to all of our listeners."
- Rich Warren host/producer Emeritus WFMT Radio, Chicago
The band doesn’t give a concert so much as throw a party, engaging audiences of all ages and backgrounds in its energy-driven reimagining of the sound of a classic klezmer Big Band of the 1920s. This is your grandfather’s klezmer band, but also your grandchild’s—when not concertizing, Maxwell Street entertains at weddings and bar and bat mitzvah parties.
Some of the band’s credits include a performance at Carnegie Hall, at Lincoln Center, and at nearly a dozen European festivals (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the UK, Finland, and others). A classical-klezmer composition (Klezmer Rhapsody, I. Levinson) was written for the band’s violinist and Musical Director, Alex Koffman, who premiered it at Chicago’s Symphony Center. The band also performed in an original opera at Lyric Opera Chicago (“The Property”). In addition to concerts, the band offers klezmer workshops for both professionals and amateurs, and has published its own klezmer band book (Joy of Klez).
Touring Band Demo (2023-24)
Featured Concert Videos
Vu Bistu Geveyn (Clarinet feature)
Lisa Fishman: Bei Mir Bistu Sheyn (By Me You're Grand)
Cantor Pavel Roytman: Shpilt Oyf a Chassene Tanz (Play a Wedding Dance)
Ivo Braun, Trumpet, is featured on this faithful rendition of a song from the 1958 album by the Mickey Katz Orchestra called "Music for Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Brisses." This is a stylized version of the kind of slower, dignified dance played for the grandmothers to dance to at a traditional Jewish wedding.
Chassidic in America: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
It was wonderful to hear Chicago's Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and its music director, the terrific fiddle player Alex Koffman, cut loose so exuberantly in the rhapsody. Both Levinson pieces brought to mind the whirling folk rhythms of Georges Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody No. 1," which, under Chen's spirited direction, brought the audience to its feet, cheering its approval.
- John Von Rhein, Music Critic, Chicago Tribune