top of page

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band Media Kit

The Premiere Jewish Musical

& Cultural Experience


  • Chicago's own Klezmer Revival band since 1983 and still going strong

  • Master musicians and engaging entertainers

  • Programs customized to audiences of all ages and backgrounds



Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer Band plays lively Eastern European Jewish folk music that combines Old World melodies with Jazz Age rhythms and contemporary energy. Classical sophistication meets theatrical fun in an engaging performance filled with joy, soul, and humor. Steeped in rich traditions of Chicago jazz, a polished, horn-driven sound sets it apart from other bands.

Photo park dancing outdoors.jpg

Band Biography

Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer Band has inspired audiences in U.S. and Europe since 1983 with their original takes on Yiddish songs and klezmer dance music. Under the direction of violinist Alex Koffman, classical sophistication meets theatrical fun in a performance filled with joy, soul, and humor. Practitioners of the rich traditions of Chicago jazz, their rollicking horn line and violin virtuosity engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds.


Maxwell Street has played in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, the Barbican Centre in London, the Mozartsaal in Vienna, and collaborated with Chicago Sinfonietta (“Klezmer Rhapsody”) and Lyric Opera of Chicago (“The Property”). Their five albums include a Hanukkah collaboration with noted folk singer Rabbi Joe Black.

The band celebrated their 36th (“double chai—to life”) Anniversary in 2019.  Maxwell Street Klezmer Band runs the Klezmer Music Foundation, a not for profit organization with numerous educational programs (including the Junior Klezmer Orchestra, Congregational Klezmer Bands, and the interfaith ensemble Salaam-Shalom Music Project) to carry on the tradition and evolution of klezmer music.

Read about the band on Wikipedia: here.

Our Style

With its big band instrumentation, Maxwell Street moves easily among various styles: Russian and gypsy music, folk songs, theater songs and Yiddish pop songs from the 1920's-50's. Their performance creates a multi-dimensional picture of the lost Jewish culture of Eastern Europe, spiced with vignettes of America seen through immigrant eyes.

Our Instrumentation

Clarinet, saxophone, violin, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass and percussion make up the band, rounded out by a duet of female singers. Musical Director Alex Koffman spices the band’s potpourri of Yiddish songs, dance and theater music with his original arrangements, inspired by his classical and jazz background. 

The Musicians

Alex Koffman: Violin, Vocals, Musical Director
Lori Lippitz: Vocals, Guitar, Artistic Director
Lisa Fishman: Vocals (touring band)
Cantor Pavel Roytman: Vocals
Etel Melamed: Vocals
Bibi Marcell: Vocals
Shelley Yoelin: Clarinet, Sax
Donald Jacobs: Clarinet, Sax (touring band)
Jeff Jeziorski: Clarinet
Matvey Kostukovsky: Clarinet
Ivo Braun: Trumpet
Bob Samborski: Trombone
Dana Legg: Trombone
Gail Mangurten: Keyboard
Jim Cox: Bass
Steve Hawk: Percussion
Justin Kramer: Percussion

Press Quotes

  • "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 more)      

  • " 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 more)

  • "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."- Nancy Malitz, Chicago On the Aisle (Read more)

  • "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 world." -Weiner Konzerthaus

  • "Delightful...gorgeous violin playing" -Chicago Tribune (Read more)                                   

  • "Maxwell Street’s Klezmer original arrangements combine theatre, jazz and classical styles with melodies that are infused with Hassidic soul." - Cleveland Jewish News (Read more)

  • "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 exhilirating, 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, Chicago Sun Times

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


Voyage Chicago: Meet Lori Lippitz and Alex Koffman of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band in Skokie

Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (Podcast): Paul Wieder interviews Maxwell Street Klezmer’s Lori Lippitz

Inside the Skev (2019): Aaron Masliansky interviews Maxwell Street Klezmer Band's Lori Lippitz


"I produce Wednesdays on the Green for Downtown Skokie. We couldn't be happier with the choice to hire the band to play for us. They drew one of the largest crowds in the three years we have been holding the summer series and we had wonderful comments from the audience and the sponsors. We had over 600 people present and everyone had a memorable night." 

- Scott Holst, Skokie Chamber of Commerce, 2013



  • 2013 Maxwell Street Days (Reissue from LP to CD)

  • 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. 

  • 2008 Eight Nights of Joy (Sounds Write Music) featuring Rabbi Joe Black

  • 2002 Old Roots, New World (Shanachie Entertainment)

  • 2000 Sweet Early Years (Klezmer Music Foundation, Inc.)

  • 1997 The MATZOrena (cassette single) (KlezDance Productions)

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

  • 1994 The European recording Jiddisches Lied & Klezmer 4th Internationales Festival

  • 1986 Maxwell Street Days (Global Village Music)


Lori Lippitz

(847) 675-4800 

bottom of page