Ashkenaz is excited to welcome Germany’s Semer Ensemble back to Toronto, following tour de force performances here in 2016 and 2017.
Founded in 2012, the Semer Ensemble performs rare music recorded by Jewish artists in Berlin during the 1930s on the almost unknown “Semer” record label. This eclectic repertoire captures a fascinating moment in history, with German Jewry on the brink of an unimaginable cataclysm, but continuing to express its heritage and artistry in a variety of musical styles, and often in direct response to the circumstances of the era. Following the destruction of the record label’s shop on Kristallnacht in 1938, the entire Semer catalogue of hundreds of precious, unique recordings was thought lost for decades. Remarkably, through the efforts of a globe-trotting record collector, Rainer Lotz, the entire catalogue was re-assembled in the early 21st century and subsequently re-released. Since then those recordings have been transformed into an incredibly artful and moving concert experience that features some of the leading singers and instrumentalists of the Yiddish culture scene of the last 40 years.
The Semer Ensemble all-star lineup is led by accordionist and pianist Alan Bern (Brave Old World, Other Europeans, Yiddish Summer Weimar), and includes acclaimed vocalists Lorin Sklamberg (Klezmatics), Daniel Kahn (The Painted Bird), Sasha Lurje (Forshpil), and Fabian Schnedler (Fayvish). The ensemble is completed with instrumental virtuosos, Mark “Stempenyuk” Kovnatskiy (violin) and Martin Lillich (bass).
Join us for a very special performance by the Semer Ensemble, featuring songs in Yiddish, German, Russian, and Hebrew accompanied by English subtitles. For a taste of what’s in store, check out this mini-doc from the group’s last performance in Toronto six years ago.
Click HERE to see details for the workshops being offered by Semer Ensemble on Friday October 6.
Presented by Ashkenaz, in association with Toronto Holocaust Museum, with support from the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany, Lufthansa, Toronto Workmen’s Circle Foundation, and UJA Committee For Yiddish.
Lyric Theatre, Meridian Arts Centre, 5040 Yonge St.