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561-297-1164, or
Carol Lewis

Klezmer Company Orchestra, Conducted by Aaron Kula, to Present “Beyond The Tribes” at FAU’s Performing Arts Auditorium

Concert Celebrates Musical Fusion of Exotic Melodies from Around the World, Featuring New Orchestrations and 40 Performers, Including New York City Vocalist Shira Lissek

                   BOCA RATON, FL (February 6, 2007) – The innovative, critically-acclaimed Klezmer Company Orchestra (KCO) will present the premiere production of “Beyond the Tribes,” a musical fusion of exotic melodies from 14 countries, on Sunday, March 4, at 3 p.m., at Florida Atlantic University’s Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, in the University Center, on the Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road.

During this grand production featuring 40 performers and guest vocalist Shira Lissek, Aaron Kula, KCO’s conductor and director of music collections at FAU Libraries, will introduce arrangements and orchestrations of songs from the Mediterranean, Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Russia and America that blend jazz and classical musical traditions.

The audience can expect some of Kula’s new orchestrations, updated arrangements and original compositions, including “Yiddishe Polonaise,” “Glezele L, Chaim,” “JewOrleans March,” and “Venezuelan Calypso.” Kula will also conduct the premiere of his composition titled “Voices,” written in collaboration with his brother Rabbi Irwin Kula, a noted author and TV personality. The text of selected cell phone calls from 9-11 victims will be chanted by Rabbi Kula and Lissek, using biblical melodies associated with the Book of Lamentations describing the destruction of the ancient temple in Jerusalem. The concert also includes compositions by the Jewish composers Bernstein, Ellstein and Rumshinsky.

“Jewish music embraces both tradition and evolution. I am declassifying and deconstructing ‘Klezmer’ music as a narrow genre,’’ Kula said. “The concert is about fusing traditions of various cultures and various music styles, and blending them together to create something inherently new and accessible for today’s multi-cultural audiences.”

KCO, the professional ensemble-in-residence at FAU Libraries, has been on the move, earning standing ovations at the opening of Carnival Center’s Knight Concert Hall, and at the Jackie Gleason Theater and Eissey Campus Theatre for performances of “Salsa, Strings and Swing.”

 The ensemble defies classification with its high-energy performances and eclectic programming of traditional and non-traditional music. It features nine core soloists, a classical string section made up of premier musicians from regional orchestras and the 20-member Judaica Choral Society.

Kula, who founded KCO in 1997, said the real star of each production is the music itself. Since its inception, KCO has successfully taken music in the Libraries’ collections ‘from shelf to stage.’

“Preservation and performance are codependent activities and both are necessary for the survival of music in any world class collection,’’ Kula said. “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.”

Dr. William Miller, director of FAU Libraries, said Kula is constantly breaking ground with the KCO and the Libraries’ collections.   “Audiences who attend these performances every year have had the chance to see the genre expand before their eyes with each successive concert,” Miller said. 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.”

“Beyond the Tribes” will also feature the return of New York opera singer, Shira Lissek, a versatile young soprano who is at home on operatic, music and concert stages. She will sing selections in English, Hebrew, Ladino and Yiddish.

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 rave reviews for its unique style and innovative arrangements. KCO’s 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, who joined the FAU faculty in 1997 and became director of music collections in 2003, plays a dual role as conductor and accordionist ? audiences find this unusual and visually stimulating. His activities include research, archiving, lecturing, composing and performing. He is also on the faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he has conducted orchestras since 1986.           

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

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the FAU Libraries’ Music Collections. Concert tickets are $25, $36 and $45, with $60 premier seating. Early reservations are recommended. For tickets, call 800-564-9539 or visit For information on KCO, visit


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