Piano

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Josh Dolgin by Tyler Anderson

Josh Dolgin by Tyler Anderson

In eastern Europe the piano was not generally a klezmer band instrument, being expensive and not very portable! It became more popular in the USA.


The piano generally plays back-up in klezmer bands, mostly rhythm while supporting the tune with bits of melody from time to time. 


Klezmer pianists in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries included:


  • USA Beverley Musiker, Moe Wechsler, Sam Heller, Sylvia Schwartz


Klezmer pianists in the later 20th century and today include:


  • Canada Josh Dolgin (also accordion)

  • Germany Alan Bern (also accordion), Patrick Farrell (also accordion)

  • Moldova Suzanna Ghergus

  • Poland Leopold Kozłowski

  • UK Polina Shepherd

  • USA Binyomin Ginzberg, Ilya Shneyveys (also accordion), Josh Horowitz (also accordion, tsimbl), Lorin Sklamberg (also accordion), Pete Sokolow, Zalman Mlotek


You can hear the piano in its typical role on these recordings:

Nakhes fun Kinder

Nakhes fun Kinder

Nakhes fun Kinder (Joy From Your Children) played by Belf's Romanian Orchestra

Trinkt Briderlakh, L'khayim (Brothers, Drink to Life!) Part 1 (Zhok) played by Shloimke Beckerman

Trinkt Briderlakh, L'khayim (Brothers, Drink to Life!) Part 1 (Zhok) played by Shloimke Beckerman

Yiddish Khosidl played by Max Leibowitz (violin) with Philip Friedman (piano)

Yiddish Khosidl played by Max Leibowitz (violin) with Philip Friedman (piano)

Kiev Freylekhs/ Nifty, shpil es nokh a mol

Kiev Freylekhs/ Nifty, shpil es nokh a mol

"Shpil es Nokh a Mol" (Play it again!). A version of the tune we call 'Kiev Freylekhs', played by the great klezmer clarinetist Naftule Brandwein.