Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

History

 

Founded in 1983 by Lori Lippitz, Maxwell Street has played at Carnegie Hall, toured Europe, and provided the celebratory soundtrack for Chicagoland’s simchas (Jewish parties) for almost 4 decades. The band marked its 30th “Bandiversary” at The Old Town School of Folk Music in 2013, and will return there for its 40th Anniversary Concert in 2023. The band was featured with The Lyric Opera of Chicago in the world’s first klezmer opera, and performed with Chicago Sinfonietta in a classical klezmer composition created for violinist Alex Koffman (“Klezmer Rhapsody” by Ilya Levinson) at Chicago’s Symphony Center.  

 

Maxwell Street has five commercial CDs (Shanachie Entertainment). As part of their grassroots mission through their not for profit (Klezmer Music Foundation), Maxwell Street directs three community klezmer bands and the Junior Klezmer Orchestra. They are also the founder of the interfaith ensemble, The Salaam-Shalom Music Project.

 

The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band preserves and innovates the traditional performance style of Eastern European immigrant musicians. The band's violinist and musical director, Alex Koffman, and co-founder, clarinetist/saxophonist Shelley Yoelin, meld their classical and jazz sensibilities into a unique sound that pleases audiences of all ages.

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As the folksinger and actor Theodore Bikel said, “These are fine musicians…they care about the music. And when they care—I care.”