Tutors at KlezNorth 2020

Andreas Schmitges is a professional Klezmer musician, a band leader, dance leader, author, researcher, festival organizer and Yiddish activist. He holds a degree in Jazz Guitar from the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz (University for Music and Dance), Cologne. Andreas has taught at workshops on Yiddish musical culture all over the world. He is currently the curator of Yiddish Summer Weimar and the artistic director of the Klezmer Welten festival in Gelsenkirchen and the Jewish Culture Days in Halle. Up until March 2020 he will be a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford as a researcher in an Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish studies on the topic of Jewish Musical Cultures in Early Modern Europe.

Andreas tours regularly with his ensembles A Tickle In The Heart and Voices of Ashkenaz and teaches Yiddish dance, Yiddish dance songs, and his primary instruments, guitar and mandolin at festivals and workshops such as KlezKamp (New York), KlezFest (London), Klezmer Paris, KlezKanada, Yiddish Summer Weimar and Klezmer Festival Stockholm.

In 2019, clarinetist Michael Winograd released his long awaited LP “Kosher Style,” re-affirming his central role in today’s international Klezmer landscape. He tours the world performing with his band The Honorable Mentshn, collaborates with Pakistani superstar Zeb Bangash in the group Sandaraa, records and plays with a veritable who’s who of today’s top Klezmorim (Frank London, Itzhak Perlman, Geoff Berner, Alicia Svigals, The Klezmer Conservatory Band, Daniel Kahn, to name a few), appears in stadiums with Vulfpeck, and has produced records for Adrienne Cooper, Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss and others.

As an educator, Michael has taught seminars and workshops at many of the hubs for klezmer development including KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Yiddish Summer Weimar, Furth Klezmer Festival, Paris Klezmer workshop, Bonn Klezmer Week and others. Michael is the Artistic Director of KlezKanada and a founder of the Yiddish New York festival.

Sasha Lurje was born in Riga, Latvia, and has been singing since she was three years old. She has gained experience with many groups and in various styles including classical and folk singing, jazz, rock, and pop. Parallel to her singing career she has also been involved in several theatre groups where she focused on musical and improvised theatre.

Since 2003 she has been researching traditional Yiddish singing style and repertoire, investigating secular and religious vocal materials. With her band Forshpil, she is developing a new style of Yiddish music by integrating the traditional sound into modern context.

Sasha is involved in a number of international projects varying in repertoire and styles. She has collaborated with Daniel Kahn to develop an “interlingual” love song duo program STRANGELOVESONGS. She is also a member of an all-star band Semer Ensemble led by Alan Bern. The group reinterprets Jewish music recorded in Berlin in the 30s and is esteemed for the variety of styles and genres tied together in an artistic and musical way. Sasha also performs and leads Yiddish dance with the Berlin klezmer band You Shouldn’t Know From It. One of her most recent projects is Goyfriend: a collaboration with Brooklyn-based Band Litvakus discovering the musical interactions between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors.

Sasha conducts her research in traditional voice techniques and voice production. And has presented her work at various conferences.

Sasha is a co-founder of Berlin Yiddish music festival Shtetl Neukölln.

Sasha has performed and taught Yiddish singing in Russia, Europe and North and South America and has been a longstanding artist and faculty member at Yiddish Summer Weimar, where she coordinates the Song workshop.

Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle where he began studying classical violin at a young age soon branching out to Jazz and then Klezmer and various folk music by age 12. His klezmer teachers included the early Klezmer revival fiddler Wendy Marcus and later David Krakauer. He went on to study composition with Joan Tower, as well as classical and jazz violin at Bard College in New York.

Craig first made a name for himself in New York as an American folk musician, where he was a founding member of The Dust Busters, who released an album with their mentor John Cohen on the prestigious Smithsonian Folkways Label. He later joined the band Litvakus, one of the only contemporary bands devoted to the regional style of the Northern European, or Litvish Jews. In recent years he has devoted himself to intensive study of the few old Jewish fiddlers in the early part of the 20th century, as well as deepening his understanding of the Litvish style. He has learned on the bandstand from some of the best contemporary Klezmer string players, including Michael Alpert, Mark Rubin, Pete Rushefsky, Bob Cohen and Jake Schulman-Ment.

Craig is a founder, arranger and fiddler in Goyfriend, a new collaboration between members of Litvakus and Sasha Lurje that explores the relationship between the Jews and their Baltic and Slavic neighbors. Together with Ms. Lurje he also founded Lebedik, a band devoted to Yiddish song in its various forms. He performs with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird and a variety of European and American Swing and Old Time American folk music bands.

Craig has been a music educator for over a decade, including at various festivals and workshops, most recently at the Shtetl Neukölln festival in Berlin. He has performed there and at other Yiddish music festivals, including Lviv Klezfest, Singer Festival in Warsaw, Yiddish New York and Klezmore.

Michael Alpert has been a pioneering figure in the renaissance of Klezmer music for over 30 years providing a bridge between Old World Jewish culture and the contemporary Yiddish/Klezmer Renaissance. He is internationally renowned for his award-winning performances and recordings with Brave Old World, Kapelye, Khevrisa, Krakauer, Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel – amongst others. He is a mentor, friend and colleague to many of the brightest new lights of contemporary Yiddish and Jewish arts and scholarship world-wide.

Michael Alpert tells the story of the Jewish people and the human race in song, music and the spoken word. Drawn from his family heritage and his own travels through the cultures and terrain of Europe and the Americas, his performances are sojourns through inner and outer landscapes, sagas of immigrant journeys, and epics of the universal search for home.

Michael Alpert has conducted extensive documentation of music and dance in Jewish Communities across USA and Europe, and is a leading contemporary teacher and researcher of Eastern European Jewish traditional dance. He has been Co-Director of KlezKanada, and Director of Jewish Heritage and Arts Programming at the Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow.


Phil Tomlinson is an experienced singer and performer, specialising in singing and teaching Yiddish songs. Phil’s background is not Jewish, but through 40 years marriage to his wife who is from a Jewish family of Holocaust refugees, he has become ever more involved with Yiddish culture, especially music and song. Performing since the age of 7 in choirs, singing competitions, orchestras , bands, and folk clubs, over the last decade or more he has played and sung with the klezmer band The Klatsh. More recently with his group Yoyvl he has taken performances of “Mir Zaynen Do” and “Yiddish Revolutionaries” to a number of cities and towns in the Midlands. (The former consists of ghetto and Holocaust songs, the latter follows the history of the Jewish left). Phil still finds time to sing in several choirs, and play in a local rock band. Involved with Kleznorth from the beginning, Phil now chairs the Kleznorth organising group.

Judith Plowman ‘found’ dance (international folk) about 25 years ago, but then struggled to discover which of her many ‘left feet’ was actually her ‘right’ foot! That finally sorted, she has immersed herself in as much Klezmer Dance as living in a small Pennine town allows – with two trips to Weimar to specialist Klezmer dance workshops significantly expanding her repertoire, as well as the week-long Klezmer dance workshop with Erik Bendix in Findhorn. Judith has taught and led dance for many years, and is committed to spreading and encouraging Klezmer Dance, finding it such an inclusive and uplifting dance form. Judith was a founder member of KlezNorth but now focusses on the dancing.  Judith invented and will lead the wonderful ‘dance walk’ – a Klezmer exploration of the lovely countryside around Youlgrave.

Sue Cooper has been involved in the Klezmer revival for many years, playing in bands Klezmeidl (York), and Klezmic (New Mills). She also initiated, and then hosted the monthly Sunday Klezmer Sessions in New Mills for ten years. Together with Ros Hawley, Sue obtained funding for a series of workshops, concerts, ‘klezbarns’ and other events in and around Manchester building a network of klezmorim, and introducing Klezmer dance to the Northwest. Without these various events, the delight and the interest in Klezmer music, and thus the momentum for KlezNorth, would have never been stimulated.

She has attended KlezFest London most years since it’s inception, and with Adrian Dobson and Judith Plowman travelled to the Weimar Klezmer Festival to a specialist Klezmer Dance workshop. Her strong connection with her Jewish forebears strengthens her wish to explore and invigorate the many aspects of Yiddish past – the music, the history (European, American and British), the dances and the language.

Simon Carlyle was converted to Klezmer music from a background of active involvement in early music and traditional jazz. He is particularly interested in the original East European forms of the music, and the communities in which it flourished; he has given talks at KlezNorth, Glasgow Limmud and the Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society on various historical topics. He spends much of his spare time transcribing early klezmer relics, and currently organizes the Edinburgh Klezmer drop-in sessions, so that he can inflict the results on them, as relief from a vain pursuit of the lyric tuba.