Bio- Judith Eisner

Judith Eisner has been performing, studying, and teaching klezmer music in the Twin Cities for 17 years.  Judith studied extensively with klezmer violinists Deborah Strauss, Michael Alpert and Stephen Greenman (currently some of the top klezmer violinists in the world. Steven is recognized internationally as one of the finest practitioners, composers and teachers of traditional East European Jewish klezmer violin music in the world today.)  She has also studied the genre by attending KlezKanada (an internationally acclaimed festival based in Montreal) for 8 summers.    smiling judith

In 2006, with the encouragement of these instructors, Judith began to learn Yiddish (the language of her parents and grandparents). She received a travel/study grant from The American Jewish Federation to attend the Weinreich Institute at NYU.  Her knowledge of Yiddish deepened her understanding of the inflections and ornamentation of the music.

As the leader of her “kapeyle” (band) Eisner collaborates with other musicians who also devote their time to the in-depth study of the genre:  players include Patrick Harison on accordion, Gretta Hunstiger on violin, Doug Cole on mandolin, Diane Benjamin on tsimbl, Matt Miller on bass, and Paul Fonfara on clarinet.

Judith is also a classically trained violinist and has been on the faculty of The MacPhail Center for Music since 1986, where she and the band have performed on recitals and presented workshops and classes for students.  The band also actively performs in the Twin Cities at such venues as Jewish Community Centers, the State Fair, libraries, synagogues and churches, the Art Institute, KFAI radio’s world music program, coffee houses, and private parties for weddings and bar/bat mitzves. In 2010 she released  a CD with her group EISNER’S KLEZMORIM focussing on their repertoire of Eastern European Ashkenazic music.

Judith has also been mentored by Walter ‘Zev’ Feldman and Alan Bern, highly respected musicians and researchers in klezmer music and it’s role in Jewish life in Eastern Europe before WWII. Their instruction emphasised not just the music but the culture of Jewish life around the weddings, and other ceremonies, which included dance and the yiddish language.

Judith has been involved with a number of theatrical productions including her own “Tears to Joy” which reinacted a Jewish wedding of a hundred years ago presented in a number of places including the Minneapolis Art Institute and the Music in the Park Series at St. Michael’s Church, St. Paul) and with a recent new play about  Holocaust survivors “We Could Talk, We Could Recall, We Could Tell Stories” written by Sharon DeMark which was also highlighted on MPR   (


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