Yale Strom (violin, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer, playwright) is a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Rom communities. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. From more than 2 decades and 70 such research expeditions, Strom has become the world's leading ethnographer-artist of klezmer music and history.
His klezmer research was instrumental in helping form the repertoires of his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi in New York and San Diego . Since Strom's first band began in 1981, he has been composing his own New Jewish music, which combines klezmer with Hasidic nigunim , Rom, jazz, classical, Balkan and Sephardic motifs. These compositions range from quartets to a symphony, which premiered with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He composed original music for the Denver Center production of Tony Kushner's The Dybbuk . He also composed all the New Jewish music for the National Public Radio series Fiddlers, Philosophers & Fools: Jewish Short Stories from the Old World to the New , hosted by Leonard Nimoy, as well as numerous film and dance scores. Strom is also one of the only top composers of Jewish music to carry on the tradition of writing original songs, with Yiddish lyrics, about humanitarian and social issues. His twelve CDs run the gamut of traditional klezmer to "new" Jewish music. His CD, Garden of Yidn , debuted in the Top 20 of Canada's major music critic's poll. His CD, Klezmer: Cafe Jew Zoo was released by Naxos World Records in June of 2003 to international acclaim. Strom has performed with many world renown musicians including Andy Statman, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Mark O'Connor, Alicia Svigals, Salman Ahmad, et al.
Yale Strom was the first klezmer violinist to be invited to instruct master classes at both the American String Teachers Association and the Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp. Strom's research has also resulted in photo documentary books, documentary films, as well as CD recordings. He is the author of The Book of Klezmer: The History, The Music, The Folklore ( 2002)" is a 400 page history with original photos and sheet music gathered by Strom during his sixty-plus ethnographic trips to Central and Eastern Europe. A Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe written in collaboration with his wife, Elizabeth Schwartz, is part cookbook, part travelogue (2005). He is also the author of The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook (2006). His first children's book The Black Wedding will be published in 2008.
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