The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene celebrated its Centennial at Carnegie Hall with a concert starring Itzhak Perlman and renowned Klezmer musicians.


by: Linda Amiel Burns


There was dancing in the aisles at Carnegie Hall on March 31, 2015 when The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene celebrated its 100th Anniversary.

Since 1915, NYTF has presented a “window into the world of Jewish culture by engaging, educating and igniting the imaginations of generations of theatergoers. Its mission is to celebrate the Jewish experience through the performing arts and to transmit a rich cultural legacy in exciting new ways that bridge social and cultural divides.”

City Developer Bruce Ratner was the Gala Chair and presented awards to legendary financier and philanthropist Sanford I. Weill and Broadway impresario Jordan Roth. Both men graciously accepted and spoke of their Jewish roots and the importance of preserving our rich cultural legacy for future generations.

Then renowned maestro and violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman was introduced and performed songs from his album “In the Fiddler’s House” with internationally acclaimed klezmer musicians conducted by music director Hankus Metsky. They included vocalist Michael Alpert, accordionist Alan Bern, clarinetist Kurt Bjorling, vocalist Judy Bressler, string bass play and cellist Stu Brotman, trumpeter Frank London, vocalist and accordionist Lorin Sklamberg, clarinetist Andy Statman and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

The concert was remarkable and the music infectious. Mr. Perlman encouraged the audience to clap if they felt like it and to get up and dance. For one song, about half the audience in the orchestra did a joyful hora-like dance through the aisles while the others clapped to the music, making this a true celebration of the Jewish spirit. For the last number, Zalmen Mlotek, Artistic Director of NYTF, led a choir of hundreds of children from various Jewish schools on to the stage to sing. Congratulations to the NYTF and may they continue to do great work for the next hundred years.

For more info: National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene www.NYTF.org

*Photos: Kate Hess