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Collaborative Programming

The Klezmer Music Foundation, Inc., is committed to connecting and creating art with performers throughout the Chicagoland area and elsewhere. In all of our collaborative projects, we strive to find the intersection between klezmer and classical music, both orchestral and operatic, and family-friendly theater.

Highlights include:


  • Lyric Opera of Chicago’s premiere of Wlad Marhulets’ klezmer opera "The Property," featuring members of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band in the onstage ensemble. Based on a graphic novel by Rutu Modan, this unique piece of music theater tackles themes of memory and discovery of one's heritage.

  • Performances with the Chicago Sinfonietta. In 2014, Maxwell Street played Levinson's "Klezmer Rhapsody" at Symphony Center, with violinist Alex Koffman as featured soloist.

  • "The Whole Megillah: The Story of the Yiddish Theatre," a dynamic multimedia presentation by theater historian Charles Troy with musical illustrations by Maxwell Street. For more information, click here.


  • Family theater productions with the Yiddish Arts Ensemble. These inventive shows are geared towards families and tell stories through vibrant klezmer tunes.

Community Engagement

Part of the Klezmer Music Foundation, Inc.'s mission is to bring klezmer music into our community, both to spread awareness of this wonderful music and also to encourage mutual heritage sharing, especially among our youngest and oldest populations.  Over the years, we have performed in public schools, most recently through the Evanston In-School Music Association's after-school program and senior residences.  


The KMF also offers weekend-long Klezmer Institutes, a unique way for community members to learn the essentials of Yiddish and klezmer style from members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and Yiddish dance masters.  


Dance workshop at Mather Pavilion

Don Jacobs and Alex Koffman lead a Klezmer Institute

KMF has also helped several Chicagoland synagogues create and develop their own house klezmer bands, who play during worship and for celebrations. They include Temple Sholom, Beth Hillel Congregation B'nai Emunah and the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation.

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