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Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is a Chicago-based klezmer ensemble. It was founded by Lori Lippitz in 1983 and is directed by violinist Alex Koffman. The band's educational and outreach focus led to the establishment of the Klezmer Music Foundation, which continues to support Maxwell Street Klezmer Band among other professional and amateur groups.


Background information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Maxwell Street Klezmer Band has performed and toured across the United States, United Kingdom and Europe. Notable performances have also included those at Carnegie Hall and alongside the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2014. In addition to performing on stage, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band also plays for weddings, bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies, Jewish community celebrations, and other events. The band is well-known for performing in the classic European Jewish klezmer style blended with a big band sound. Many of the band's members are themselves immigrants from Eastern Europe, including countries like the former Soviet Union, Poland and Czechia. The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, along with its sister music groups in the Klezmer Music Foundation, use community outreach and education to promote the preservation of the klezmer musical heritage.


The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band was founded by Lori Lippitz in 1983. The name "Maxwell Street" derives from the neighborhood of the same name on the west side of Chicago, which was culturally important due to the Sunday Market. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many of the merchants and pushcart peddlers who settled in Maxwell Street were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.


In 1994, Lippitz founded the Klezmer Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization which includes the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band.


The band toured Europe multiple times. In 1998, the band performed in London, Vienna, and Munich among other locations. The same year, Maxwell Street performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.


In 2014, the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, together with the Chicago Sinfonietta, performed the world premier of Ilya Levinson's Klezmer Rhapsody, with violinist Alex Koffman as the soloist. The same year, the band also performed as the ensemble for the klezmer opera The Property with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Style / Awards

The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band primarily plays klezmer music in a manner that has been described as high-energy, soulful, and horn driven.


They perform dance music in a multitude of styles. They perform a blend of classical Eastern European klezmer music with a big band jazz style.



The Award for Artistic Excellence

Awarded by the Skokie Fine Arts Commission in 2016, this award honors Skokie artists for community visibility, artistic talents, number of people reached, regional recognition, and demonstration of artistic excellence.


2020 Skokie Community Foundation Grant Award

Awarded in 2019, the Skokie Community Foundation donated funds to support an interfaith initiative between the Klezmer Music Foundation and the MCC Academy. Jewish and Muslim students attended educational events and held a concert featuring music of their cultures.

Klezmer Music Foundation

The Klezmer Music Foundation is an outreach organization that includes the Maxwell Street Klezmer band as one of its affiliated groups. The Foundation's mission is to preserve and maintain the Jewish tradition of klezmer music through performance, education and collaboration.

Other musical groups associated with the Klezmer Music Foundation are the Junior Klezmer Orchestra and the Chicago Salaam-Shalom Music Project, as well as several synagogue klezmer bands.

The Junior Klezmer Orchestra was founded in 1994, and teaches teenage musicians the klezmer music style and tradition for performances at various local venues, including music festivals.

The Salaam-Shalom Music Project includes both Jewish klezmer musicians as well as Christian, Muslim, and Arab musicians from countries including Egypt, Pakistan and Iraq. The group comprises members of different ethnic and religious backgrounds sharing and performing folk music in various styles. 

The Foundation also organizes performances, collaborations on theatrical and musical presentations, and educational programs at nursing homes, schools, and synagogues.


Videos, Downloads

*Immanuel Kant


Created: 20230217


Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 28 January 2023, at 23:14 (UTC)