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Media Kit

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

Band Biography

In 1983, before klezmer music gained its recent popularity, Lori Lippitz founded the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Working within the Chicago Jewish community, the band reintroduced traditional dance music to weddings and other Jewish celebrations. Over the years, the band has performed on stages across the country (including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Symphony Center) and played nine tours in Europe. Recently, the Maxwell Street Klezmer band celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a reunion concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Their third CD, You Should Be So Lucky! is one of the ten best-selling klezmer recordings in America.

Samples of the Band's 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
Maxwell Street Full Band_Photo Credit Da

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.


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.​

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:

Alex Koffman, Musical Director - Violin, Vocals

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

Don Jacobs / Jeff Jeziorski / Bartek Warkoczyński - Clarinet
Ivo Braun - Trumpet
Bob Samborski / Dana Legg - Trombone
Gail Mangurten / Yuri Bokov - Piano

Jim Cox - Bass
Steve Hawk / Justin Kramer - Percussion 

Articles About and Reviews of the Band

  • "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

  • "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

  • "Sensational!" - Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation

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

  • "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 / 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 / Read the review

  • "No surprise that there’s a killer part for clarinet — Don 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 / Read the review

  • A Cantor's Journey: From the USSR to Chicago: Interview with Cantor Pavel Roytman in Patch, 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. 


Lori Lippitz, Band Director
(847) 675-4800