- BAND BIOS -
BRIAN BENDER (vocals, piano, accordion, trombone, melodica, tuba, bandleader)
Brian Bender has performed Klezmer music at Carnegie Hall, the Presidential Inauguration
of Bill Clinton and throughout the United States. He has also performed Klezmer music in
Israel, Alaska, Egypt, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, the UK, Russia and Austria. He has also
performed Reggae music in the Cape Verde Islands, Russia and Austria and Jazz in Germany and France.
Brian has formerly performed with O.J. Ekemode and the Nigerian All-Stars, Kotoja (African World-Beat),
Ibrahima Camera, Black Rebels (African Reggae), La Perfecta (Salsa/Merengue), Lucky
Seven (Ska) and the Berkshire Bateria Escola de Samba (Brazilian). He currently performs
with the Pangeans (World Beat), the Wholesale Klezmer Band, Di Bostoner Klezmer and
Big Bandemonium (Celtic). Brian also leads the Klezmer-African-Latin-Caribbean fusion band
Little Shop of Horas, which has performed numerous European tours. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory
JANUSZ KOWALSKI (clarinet, saxophone, piano, accordion)
Janusz joined the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble in April 2015. He has been playing Klezmer music in the New England
area since 1988 with the Barry Shapiro Orchestra, Rhoda Bernard Trio, Misha Grandel Trio, Roman Primak Band and
occasionally with Mashke. Janusz has also played with various Jewish/Israeli/Chassidic bands in the Greater Boston area,
including the Iris & Ofer Portugaly Band, Israel Meir Orchestra, Etan Zinori and The Aviv Band. Janusz played keyboard for
the interactive theater production of the "Fiddler On The Roof" in Brookline, Dedham, Boston and Newton MA.
Janusz also also performs regularly with the Janusz Kowalski Super Fusion Band, the Bo Winiker Swing Orchestra and
Time After Time wedding band (directed by Brian Bender).
ANNA SOBEL (poyk, fiddle, dumbek, vocals, tabla, piano, puppets)
Anna Sobel frequently performs tabla for the kirtan group Shubalananda and Friends and has been playing tabla for
since 2000. She has studied dumbek with Raquy Danziger and performed dumbek with Galeet Dardashti's all-female
Middle Eastern group Divahn.
Anna is also a professional storyteller and puppeteer and trained as a "maggidah," or Jewish storyteller, with
Yitzhak Buxbaum. She and her puppets have appeared as Talking Hands Theatre at the Jewish Museum, the
92nd Street Y, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Boston Children's Museum, the Eric Carle Museum, the Jewish
Community Center of San Francisco, and at Jewish community centers and synagogues throughout New England.
Anna is also a puppet builderand associate artist with the Jewish performance troupe Storahtelling.
-- SPECIAL GUESTS --
MICHAEL SUTER (bass)
Michael Suter has 25 years experience playing string bass in a wide variety of musical styles. He has studied
Classical double bass at University of Connecticut with Robert Black (Bang on a Can Allstars). Michael has
performed with the UConn orchestra and occasionally with the Pioneer Valley Symphony. He currently is a member
of the Wholesale Klezmer band and the Co-op Jazz Band. He has played with the alternative Rock band Go Figure,
Jazz poetry group Jazzotree, experimental Jazz group the Extropians, tributes to Sun Ra, various World Beat
ensembles, as well as backing numerous singer-songwriters including Les Rios, Celia, Elric Walker and Harp.
Michael has been practicing Bach's cello suites (transcribed for bass) for nearly 20 years and hopes someday to
perform and record several of those pieces.
CHRISTINA CROWDER (accordion)
Christina Crowder started playing accordion in college at the behest of her Finnish
grandmother. After being swept off her feet by an exuberant Hungarian Czardas in 1990,
she lived in eastern Europe for almost 10 years performing with the world renowned
Budapest-based klezmer ensemble Di Naye Kapelye and spent two years doing field work
on contemporary and archival Jewish music in Romania as a Fulbright scholar from 1999 to
2001. Christina also plays Old-Time banjo (claw-hammer style).
MIAMON MILLER (fiddle)
Miamon Miller has 35 years experience as a professional musician and has played on
numerous recordings, films and commercial sound tracks. With a B.A. in composition and an
M.A. in ethnomusicology (both from UCLA), he has successfully combined academic and
Miamon has made several trips to Eastern Europe, including a 10-month stay to Romania
on a Fulbright scholarship to study the folkmusic of that country. He taught for more than
15 years at the East European Folklore Center's summer workshops and has appeared
as a soloist and a teacher at major folk festivals throughout North America.
Miamon moved from Los Angeles, CA to Vermont in 2007. In Los Angeles, he was associated
with the Aman Folk Ensemble and held a variety of positions including Music Director and
Artistic Director. Miamon founded the eclectic folk band "Fuge Imaginea" and currently
performs with his group Bucovina Klezmer as well as the Golden State Klemzers, the Mesto
Orchestra as well as other ensembles. He has worked as a professional musician and
composer in Southern California. His arrangements and compositions have been used in
both film and television and include projects as diverse asTales from Arab Detroit, Dr. Quinn
Medicine Woman, Pancho Villa (HBO movie) and Keeping Up With the Steins.
JIM GUTTMANN (bass)
For over 30 years string bassist Jim Guttmann has performed in a wide range of venues from
smokey dives to Carnegie Hall. He joined the Klezmer Conservatory Band at its inception in
1980 and as a member of the band has performed and recorded with Itzhak Perlman and
Joel Grey. In addition to working with KCB he is currently performing klezmer music with,
among others, Andy Statman, Alicia Svigals’ Klezmer Fiddle Express and Frank London. He
is a founding member of the Really Eclectic String Quartet and has worked with nationally
renowned entertainers and musicians, including Eartha Kitt, Mark Murphy, Johnny Shines,
James Cotton, Matt Glaser, Russ Barenberg and the Artie Shaw Band. For many years he
performed with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra; in 1999, he premiered Gunther Schuller’s
duet for trumpet & contrabass “Fantastical Colloquy.” He also served as the musical director
and bassist for the Tufts University Jazz Festival's Soul to Soul: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin.
Mr. Guttmann has studied performance with Edwin Barker and Dave Holland, harmony
with Richard Cornell and techniques for improvisation with Charlie Banacos. He is a Grammy
Award Nominee and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant to study the
arco solo tradition in jazz bass playing.
GRANT SMITH (drums, dumbek, riqq, percussion)
Grant Smith is involved in many world music, jazz, classical, and dance projects in Boston
and New York. His theatre credits include the American Repertory's "The King Stag", and
"Shlemiel The First", as well as Joel Grey's "Borscht Capades". Mr. Smith has toured globally
from Crakow to Thailand and New Zealand. He has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma,
Don Byron, the Violent Femmes, Garrison Keillor,Jane Wang and the Green Bay Packers,
among others. A member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and Klezperanto, Grant has
performed on many stages from Radio City, Wolf Trap, and Tanglewood, to the Hollywood
Bowl, MU in Budapest, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
SRULI DRESDNER (clarinet, accordion, drums, vocals)
LISA MAYER (fiddle, vocals)
International Klezmer personalities SRULI DRESDNER and LISA MAYER have performed on PBS-TV and National Public
Radio as well as at festivals, concerts and synagogues all over the world. They were featured at the Cracow Festival of
Jewish Culture in Poland, and at the Jerusalem Cultures Center, and in Weimar, Germany. They are scholars of Klezmer
and Chassidic music and dance and teach workshops at synagogues universities and schools around the country. They
are on the Faculty of KlezKanada in Montreal and have performed at the prestigious Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto. They
have also headlined at the New Jersey Performing Art Center, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
YAEKO MIRANDA ELMALEH (fiddle)
Yaeko Miranda-Elmaleh grew up in Cambridge, MA and has played the violin since she was three.
A finalist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra youth competition and First prize winner in the Arlington
Philharmonic competition. She graduated from New England Conservatory in 2002 having studied and
performed in the Jewish Music ensemble under the direction of Hankus Netsky. She currently performs
with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and freelances in the Boston area.
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Illustration by Cecelia G. Waletsky (courtesy of Workmen's Circle) Website design by Brian Bender Copyright © 2006 Face The Music