top of page

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band Media Kit

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band:
  • Chicago's original Klezmer Revival band since 1983
  • Master musicians and engaging entertainers
  • Programs tailored to all ages and backgrounds

Use these buttons for quick links to specific information:


The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is a Chicago-based klezmer ensemble. It was founded by Lori Lippitz in 1983 and is directed by violinist Alex Koffman. Maxwell Street Klezmer Band has performed and toured across the United States, United Kingdom and Europe Notable performances have also included those at Carnegie Hall and alongside the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 2023, the band collaborated with Chicago's Goodman Theatre, providing music for Act II of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard." In addition to performing on stage, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band also plays for weddings, bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies, Jewish community celebrations, and other events. The band's educational and outreach focus led to the establishment of the Klezmer Music Foundation, which continues to support Maxwell Street Klezmer Band among other professional and amateur groups.


Read more about the band on Wikipedia: here.

Read about the band's 40th Anniversary celebration: here.

Samples of Concert Repertoire
Galitzianer vs. Litvak (The Polish JeMaxwell Street Klezmer Band
00:00 / 02:14
Yoshke Tanz, Yidelekh (Dance On, JewiMaxwell Street Klezmer Band
00:00 / 03:06
Mazl Tov Dances (2)Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
00:00 / 02:49
Hopkele (2)Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
00:00 / 02:49
Sheyn vi di LevoneMaxwell Street Klezmer Band
00:00 / 03:13
1 Lively MAX with Lisa.jpg

Photo credit David Sutton Studios

6.4.23 Maxwell Street Klezmer Band_Group Photo_on white background.jpg

Photo credit Kent Sievers

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is proud to be:

  • The founder of the Klezmer Music Foundation and organizer of the Midwest Klezmer and Yiddish Music Institute (since 1995) at the Kaplan JCC, the Midwest’s only annual forum for klezmer and Yiddish music workshops. The Institute attracts over 800 participants a year and trains musicians of all ages.

  • The sponsor of the Chicago Junior Klezmer Orchestra, a training ground for young klezmer musicians, since 1993.

  • Klezmer Music Foundation is recipient of artist emergency grant from Arts Work Fund - Arts for Illinois Emergency Relief Fund housed at Chicago Community Trust; and a grant to promote interfaith harmony in the community from Skokie Community Foundation.

  • On the roster of the Illinois Arts Council Artstour of recommended performers.

Maxwell Street Full Band with Lisa 2021.jpg

Photo by Kent Sievers


A Chicago-style horn line drives the energy in this ensemble that merges Big Band jazz, Yiddish theater and classical finesse with a healthy dose of quirky humor.​ Their "innovative traditionalism" brings music from the past to life with a contemporary twist. 

Our Musical Director

Alex Koffman (Violin) spices up the band’s potpourri of Yiddish songs, dance and theater music with his original arrangements, inspired by his classical training at Minsk Conservatory.


Maxwell Street performs in ensembles from 8-13 members, including:

Violin, Vocals: Alex Koffman, Musical Director 

Vocals: Lori Lippitz, Band Leader; Lisa Fishman, Etel Melamed, Bibi Marcell , Cantor Pavel Roytman 
Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute: Shelley Yoelin 

Clarinet: Don Jacobs, Jeff Jeziorski, Bartek Warkoczyński 
Trumpet: Ivo Braun 
Trombone: Bob Samborski, Dana Legg 
Piano: Gail Mangurten, Lawrence Ecklerling 

Bass: Jim Cox, Dan Kristan - Bass
Percussion: Justin Kramer, Mark Ponarovsky  

To learn more about these members, and other members, in band bios, click here.

Concert Video


  • "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

  • "These are fine musicians...they care about the music. And when they care—I care."                                             - Theodore Bikel, Actor and Singer

  • “The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is a joyous celebration of music that was—and fortunately, still is.”            - Studs Terkel, Writer and Historian

Press Quotes

  • The enchanted audience embraced the lively, upbeat performance with their enthusiastic applause and clapping, and at the end of the night it was hard to part company with these engaging artists." - Claudia Schuller, review from Fuerther Nachricten (Germany)

  • "Full of energy and humor...An eventful and entertaining evening, I can indeed recommend the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band to other venues all over the wold." - Weiner Konzerthaus

  • "Delightful...gorgeous violin playing." - Chicago Tribune  

  • "Internationally known...Evocative...Aims for the heartstrings and the feet." - Jewish Heartland

  • "At the end, no one wanted to leave. The heartfelt music had touched everyone…" - The Star

  • "The most well-attended, well-appreciated concert in [19] years…Everyone… was in awe of the band’s musical talents and wonderful showmanship." - Illinois State University

  • "This group can easily take its place beside the Klezmer Conservatory Band and the Klezmatics. They are that good." - National Jewish Post & Opinions

  • "I think that I’ve recovered from the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band concert [at Carnegie Hall], now. These guys do a very perfect vintage ‘30s jazz and klezmer and theatre music show. Lots of great shtick. Lots of great mugging for the audience. One of the tightest bands I’ve seen in a long time...I expected good, but this was really, really good."      - Ari Davidow

  • "Kings of klezmer" - Pioneer Press

  • "Maxwell Street Klezmer once again was the star of the show." - Temple Israel, Bloomfield, Michigan

  • "Outstanding performance… Maxwell Street brought...a ‘taste’ of Yiddishkyte that would be hard to duplicate...Excellent!" - Valley Jewish Festival

  • "An absolutely first class performance...The audience absolutely loved them." - World of Jewish Music, London


  • "An exhilarating, delightful high-voltage performance." -örderung Jüdischer Kultur und Tradition E.V., Munich, Germany

  • "The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band throws a party." - Rich Swenson, The Chicago Sun-Times​​

Featured Reviews 

  • "The Property bills itself as a Klezmer opera, it's perhaps more accurate to call it a theater piece that incorporates Klezmer vocal and instrumental  writing...the musicians dispatched the score with infectious verve under conductor Michael Lewanski." - Chicago Tribune (2015) / Read the review   

  • "Conducted with vigor by Michael Lewanski, the six-member klezmer ensemble—provided lively and idiomatic advocacy for Marhulets’ score. Clarinetist Don Jacobs and violinist Alex Koffman, in particular, were in tune with the essential strain of Eastern European nostalgia."  -  Chicago Classical Review (2015) / Read the review

  • "No surprise that there’s a killer part for clarinetDon Jacobs is on the reed, lending Old World flavor from the Maxwell Street Klezmer Bandalong with violinist Alex Koffman and double bassist Jim Cox. They know how to bend a note into a call from the heart." - Chicago On the Aisle (2015) / Read the review

Featured Articles

  • A Cantor's Journey: From the USSR to Chicago: Interview with Cantor Pavel Roytman - Patch (2021) / Read the article

  • Maxwell Street Band Brings Klezmer Music to the Polish Center in Franklin, WI - Shepherd Express (2022) / Read the article

  • "The [Maxwell Street Klezmer Band] from the Chicago area played with all the energy, speed, vigor, humor, soulfulness and skill expected of a klezmer band. Prominent were director Alex Koffman with a bundle of specialized techniques on violin and Jeff Jeziorski and Bartek (Bartosz) Warkoczynski with lightning bolts of clear notes on clarinet." - Warren Gerds, (2022) / Read the article

  • Maxwell Street Klezmer Band — performing as July 4th attack unfolded — returns with joy to Highland Park - Chicago Sun-Times (2022) / Read the article

  • Klezmer Band Returns To Highland Park For 1st Time Since Mass Shooting - Patch (2022) / Read the article

  • Maxwell Street Klezmer Band — caught on video as July 4 attack unfolded — returns with joy to Highland Park - WBEZ Chicago, NPR News Source (2022) / Read the article



  • 2010: Moishe Oysher, the Master Singer of his People (Cantor Arik Luck and Maxwell Street Klezmer Band)

  • 2008: Eight Nights of Joy (Sounds Write Music)  

  • 2002: Old Roots, New World (Shanachie Entertainment)

  • 1996: You Should Be So Lucky!* (Shanachie Entertainment)

  • 1992, (reissued 2000): Sweet Early Years (Klezmer Music Foundation)  

  • 1985: Maxwell St. Days (reissued 2013 by Klezmer Music Foundation)

  • *Maxwell Street Klezmer Band's recording ("Tumbalalaika") was in O Relógio do Meu Avô (My Grandfather´s Watch) a film that won the 2013 São Paulo Jewish Film Festival and an Honorable Mention in the 2013 International Festival Brazil de Cinema. 

The band fee ranges widely depending on distance, band size, date and many factors. We're glad to craft a customized quote for you. 


Lori Lippitz, Band Director
(847) 675-4800

bottom of page