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Carol Lewis

Klezmer Company Orchestra, Conducted by Aaron Kula, to Present “Salsa, Strings and Swing” at Eissey Campus Theatre

Concert Blends Orchestral Latin Klezmer Music and High-Energy Production Featuring 40 Performers with Acclaimed New York City Vocalist Shira Lissek

           BOCA RATON, FL (January 3, 2007) - Florida’s innovative, critically-acclaimed Klezmer Company Orchestra (KCO) will present “Salsa, Strings and Swing,” with 40 performers and guest vocalist Shira Lissek, on Sunday, January   28, at 3 p.m., at the Eissey Campus Theatre, 3160 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens.

             KCO defies classification with its high-energy performances and eclectic programming of traditional and non-traditional music. This production combines the unique blended sounds of orchestral Latin Klezmer music — tango, salsa, mambo and swing, capturing the cultural energy of each genre.   The professional ensemble-in-residence at Florida Atlantic University Libraries features nine core soloists, a classical string section made up of premier musicians from regional orchestras and the 20-member Judaica Choral Society.

The collaborative event will include music from Latin America, North America and Europe, converging to create a fusion of blended traditions. The grand production will highlight recently discovered historical orchestrations from the early 20 th century, “Yiddish Overture for Orchestra” and “Chassidic Suite.”

 In addition, new orchestrations composed by Aaron Kula, director of music collections at FAU Libraries, will be featured, including “Freylach a la Mambo,” “Afro Cuban Bulgar,” “Wrong Note Freylach,” and “A Yiddish Tango.”  The program will also include compositions by great Jewish composers, such as Bernstein, Ellstein, Rumshinsky, Kammen, Olshanetsky and Chajes.

Kula, who founded KCO in 1997 and is its music director, conductor and accordion player, said the real star of the show is the music itself. Since its inception, KCO has successfully taken music in the Libraries’ collections ‘from shelf to stage.’

 “The Libraries’ rich collection is the link from the past and to the present, providing a unique opportunity to create a concert that relates to people from different generations, ethnic backgrounds, religions and musical tastes,” said Kula. “As an artist, it is my responsibility to perform, to teach, to promote, and to inspire people through music which by nature is not a stagnant art form; it embraces both tradition and evolution.”

Dr. William Miller, director of FAU Libraries, said Kula is pulling off a rare feat with the Klezmer Company Orchestra and the Libraries’ collections.   “He has managed, yet again, to transmute the Klezmer format into something entirely new, while retaining its original essence.  Audiences who attend these performances every year have had the chance to see the genre expand before their eyes with each successive concert,” said Miller. Aaron Kula is doing things with this music that no one else in the country has even thought of doing, and we in South Florida are fortunate to be here and witness his evolution as a concert artist.”

Like classical orchestras and jazz ensembles, KCO features core soloists with section musicians and varies its orchestra personnel depending on the concert’s repertoire. The popular ensemble has performed before thousands at sold-out concerts and has received critical acclaim for its unique style and innovative arrangements.

 A special feature of “Salsa, Strings and Swing” will include the guest performance of New York City native and glamorous opera singer, Shira Lissek, a versatile young American soprano who is equally at home on the operatic, musical theater and concert stages.  She will sing selections in English, Hebrew, Spanish and Yiddish.

The core ensemble of distinguished musicians has accomplished backgrounds in classical, jazz and pop music, electric and acoustic violin, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, flügelhorn, trombone, bass, drums, percussion, piano and accordion. 

Kula joined the FAU faculty in 1997. His activities include research, archiving, lecturing, composing and performing.  H e also serves on the faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he has been conducting orchestras since 1986.  

Other members of the ensemble are Randi Fishenfeld, violin; Stas Pomerantz, clarinet; Tom Jaworski, saxophone; Chaim Rubinov on trumpet and flügelhorn ; David Levitan, trombone; Jacqueline De Los Santos, double bass and guitar; Zack Eldridge, drums; and Teresa Flores, percussion. These musicians’ credits include nationally and internationally renowned artists: Bruce Springsteen, Dave Valentine, B.B. King, Clarence Clemons, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, the Bee Gees, Dionne Warrick, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, Peabo Bryson, Quincy Jones, Marvin Hamlisch, Nestor Torres, Tito Puente, Jr., David Sanchez, Melton Mustafa, Miguel Cruz, Andrea Bocelli, Neil Sedaka, Vikki Carr, The Moody Blues, Yo-Yo Ma, Tony Bennett, Randy Brecker, Burt Bacharach, Aaron Neville and Dion.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Florida Atlantic University Libraries’ Music collections.   Tickets for the concert are $36 and $45. Premier seats cost $60 and include a complimentary CD. Early reservations are recommended. For tickets, call 877-877-7677, or visit For more information on KCO, visit


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