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News & Press Releases

In the News...Junior Klezmer Orchestra's new rehearsal location:

Read the article in The Record North Shore here.


Press Contact: Lori Lippitz, Klezmer Music Foundation;

(847) 675-4800,

Junior Klezmer Orchestra Finds a New Home in the North Suburbs

North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe opens its doors

to Chicago’s oldest Jewish youth musical ensemble.

Glencoe, IL — Junior Klezmer Orchestra, a Jewish musical youth ensemble led by members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, had been in constant operation since 1994, except for when the pandemic forced a pause from 2020-2022.  Now, the orchestra will begin a full year of rehearsals at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe. 

“It’s been a challenge to get the orchestra back together in a lingering Covid environment, but the enthusiasm and the swell of new students is even greater than when we had to shut down rehearsals and performances in 2020.  The hospitality of North Shore Congregation Israel is giving the orchestra new life.”                                                                  

- Lori Lippitz, Orchestra Director 

At the time of the Lockdown in Spring 2020, the Junior Klezmer Orchestra had just begun to embark upon a series of concerts and performances–a reward for six months spent mastering klezmer music.  Using a band book published by Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, “Joy of Klez,” the young musicians had become fluent in playing instruments like clarinet, violin, trumpet, trombone, and bass in the style of musicians from Eastern Europe’s shtetls. 

The Junior Klezmer Orchestra includes musicians and singers from 7th grade through High School who meet two Sundays per month to learn the art of traditional Jewish music from master players and singers.  After a decade of being hosted by Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah in Wilmette at the invitation of their Cantor, Pavel Roytman, the orchestra is relocating further North to meet an increase in demand from students from Glencoe, Highland Park, and Buffalo Grove.  Some of the orchestra’s graduates from the 1990s and 2000s include musical professionals such as the Musical Director of Hamilton on Broadway. 

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band’s Musical Director and violinist, Alex Koffman, who conducts the JKO, adds, “[Learning klezmer music] is a unique opportunity that young musicians are offered here in Chicagoland. There are few if any other youth klezmer ensembles in the country, if not the world.” 

The Klezmer Music Foundation, an Illinois 501(c)(3), founded and runs the Junior Klezmer Orchestra. For more information about joining the JKO, tuition, or about hearing the band in concert, contact Lori Lippitz, (847) 675-4800, or email

Learn more about Junior Klezmer Orchestra:

Video of Junior Klezmer Orchestra:

Junior Klezmer Orchestra at North Shore Congregation Israel.jpg

Junior Klezmer Orchestra at North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, IL

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Violinists in Junior Klezmer Orchestra; Student musicians with Bandleader Alex Koffman (in background)


2023: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band Will Celebrate its 40th Anniversary with Concert at Old Town School of Folk Music


On Sunday, June 4, 2023, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band's 40th Anniversary Concert is scheduled to be held at Old Town School of Folk Music, Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL. This event is one of the ways the band is celebrating 40 years of bringing the 'Joy of Klez' to audiences.

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