The Museum welcomes the Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble and Sasha Lurje to present a selection of songs that Dr. D. Zisl Slepovitch has discovered, curated, transcribed, and arranged working as a Musician-in-Residence at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, a unique collection of 4,400 interviews conducted in the 1980s–2000s. The songs in the program provide a series of insights into the Holocaust survivors’ experiences both during World War II and in the pre- and inter-war years as they were growing up in Eastern, Southern, and Central Europe. The compositions form a timeline that recreates a dynamic, multidimensional image of people’s lives and the multiple identities they carried — as Jews by faith and roots, and as citizens of different European countries. At the core of the program are the unique songs and poetry (some never publicly performed before) that ghetto and camp prisoners composed and performed during the Holocaust.
This event is co-presented by Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.
Dr. D. Zisl Slepovitch is a native of Minsk, Belarus, who has resided in the United States since 2008. He is a musicologist (Ph.D., Belarusian State Academy of Music); a multi-instrumental klezmer, classical, and improvisational musician; a composer and poet; and a music and Yiddish educator. He is a founding member of the critically acclaimed bands Litvakus, Minsker Kapelye, and Zisl Slepovitch Trio. He has served in many roles in numerous productions by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and is now the Musician-in- Residence (Research Affiliate) at the Fortunoff Video Archive at Yale University. Slepovitch has been the Clarinet chair and Associate Conductor in the award-winning off-Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (2018–20). He has served as a Yiddish language and culture instructor at The New School, an educator and artist-in-residence at BIMA at Brandeis University, and a guest artist and lecturer at many US and international universities, cultural organizations, and festivals. Slepovitch’s theater, film, and TV contributions include consulting on and acting in the film Defiance, Eternal Echoes (Sony Classical), and Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot (PBS), as well as original scores.
Sasha Lurje, a native of Riga, Latvia, has been singing since the age of three. She has performed with a wide variety of groups in various styles, ranging from classical to folk, jazz, rock, and pop. Lurje has also been involved in several theater groups, where she focused on musical and improvisational theater. She has performed and taught Yiddish singing in Russia, Europe, and North America, and has been a longtime artist and faculty member at Yiddish Summer Weimar. Among her projects and bands are Forshpil, STRANGELOVESONGS with Daniel Kahn, Semer Ensemble, You Shouldn’t Know from It, and Litvakus.
Joshua Camp is a founding member of the bands One Ring Zero, C.A.M.P.O.S., Locobeach, and Chicha Libre, has composed for and played in projects of various genres over the years, including country, folk, Irish, klezmer, merengue, and experimental music. He has also composed music for film, dance, theater, and multimedia installations. As an accordionist, Camp has been in the Broadway productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Threepenny Opera, and the Tony Award–winning play Indecent, and appeared on the soundtrack to the Lincoln Center production of The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard.
Dmitry Ishenko is a versatile and highly sought-after New York City bass player. He has performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Steve Lacy, John Tchicai, Eric Harland, Dave Liebman, and many others. A graduate of Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, Dmitry is a busy session player and arranger, having worked in the studio and on the road with Paul Banks of Interpol, among others. Ishenko has toured all over northern America, Western Europe, Russia, and Japan, and has appeared at the CareFusion Jazz Festival, Vision Festival, Blue Note Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Boston Beantown Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note, as well as countless other venues around the world. He has also performed in a number of theater productions in the US and Europe, including the award-winning production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (off-Broadway).
Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle, where he studied classical violin. He soon branched out into jazz, folk, and klezmer music, which he first studied with the early klezmer revival fiddler Wendy Marcus. Craig went on to study composition with Joan Tower, as well as classical and jazz violin at Bard College. Craig made a name for himself in New York playing traditional American music with his band, The Dust Busters, eventually recording an album with John Cohen for the Smithsonian Folkways. Brooklyn life also brought Craig to the band Litvakus, notable for its revival of Northeastern European Jewish music. Craig has been a music educator for over a decade, teaching Yiddish and American folk music. He helps produce the Seattle Yiddish Fest and Shtetl Neukölln (currently Shtetl Berlin) in Berlin, where he now lives.