The Shirim Klezmer Orchestra offers listeners a distinctive genre-crossing experience. The ensemble gives classic klezmer a twist, updating the traditional music with modern jumping beats. The band also takes the classical strains of Mahler, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky, and gives them a unique klezmer treatment. Shirim put out an album of klezmer-treated Tchaikovsky, the Newport Classic release Klezmer Nutcracker. The orchestra's unique sound was featured in Deconstructing Harry, a film by Woody Allen. Shirim has appeared at numerous festivals, including Toronto's Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture, New Jersey's Cape May Music Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Fest. The ensemble has performed at the Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Institute, New York's Blue Note Jazz Club and the Jewish Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, among other venues.
Shirim consists of Glenn Dickson on clarinet, David Harris on trombone, pianist Michael McLaughlin, banjoist and guitarist Pete Fitzpatrick, Jim Gray on tuba, and Eric Rosenthal on drums. All of Shirim's members also belong to Naftule's Dream. Dickson, a recipient of a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 1997, has led Shirim for more than a decade. In addition to Shirim, he also performs with the rock group Hypnotic Clambake. Harris, too, won a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 1997. He leads a band called Brass Planet and has worked with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and Les Miserables Brass Band. Fitzpatrick fronts the Pee Wee Fist, a Boston rock group that he founded. Like Dickson, he has worked with Hypnotic Clambake in addition to 27, Mary Timony, and Clem Snide. McLaughlin also is a member of the Pee Wee Fist and he devotes time to composing and playing the piano for Terra Nova, a group of performance artists. His arrangements and compositions have been performed by such artists as the Newton Symphony, the Boston Chamber Ensemble, Trio Capriccio, and the Arden String Quartet. Gray has played his tuba for the Paramount Brass, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and the Canton Symphony. When not playing with Shirim, Rosenthal devotes his time to free jazz. He has worked with David Gross, Bhob Rainey, Anthony Braxton, Jack Wright, and Dave Bryant, among others. He, too, has recorded with Hypnotic Clambake, as well as the Pakula/Karayorgis Quartet and Either/Orchestra. ~ Linda Seida, Rovi
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