Award-winning klezmer group to bring music to BYU

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    By BRINTON WILKINS

    Brinton@newsroom.byu.edu

    With at least a decade of international performances behind them, Brave Old World will bring its award-winning combination of Jewish klezmer music with jazz and classical music to the De Jong Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.

    Brave Old World, which derived its name from Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” represents a growing movement in the world of folk music, said Stu Brotman, bassist in the group.

    “The music we play is derived from klezmer music, but we are doing new things with it,” he said. “We call the music new Jewish music.”

    Klezmer is a term that developed after the world wars to describe traditional Yiddish music from Eastern Europe, Brotman said.

    “Brave Old World,” which consists of four members, combines guitar, fiddle, piano and clarinet with vocals and traditional Yiddish instruments such as the talinka, he said.

    But the music they play, while rooted in folk tradition, is a fusion of klezmer with jazz and classical.

    “My inspirations include Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Coletrain, Ellington, as well as the great Yiddish clarinetists, Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein,” he said.

    Brotman said they use jazz’s improvisational elements to make the music “stretch at the edges.”

    This mixing of musical styles has helped “Brave Old World” earn an international reputation.

    According to their Web site, www.braveoldworld.com, the band has played, among other places, in Poland, Israel, Radio City Music Hall in New York and Wolf Trap in Washington, D.C.

    In 1992 they won first prize at the International Klezmer Festival in Safed, Israel. In 1994 they won a German Record Critic Prize for their album, “Beyond the Pale.” And in 1996 they won an Emmy for their work with Itzhak Perlman on his album, “In the Fiddler’s House.”

    “When we first started 10 or 12 years ago, it seemed enough to play old-time traditional music and give deep renderings of traditional tunes,” Brotman said.

    “But now we’re trying to create the same kind of experience that a classical music composer wants the audience to have.”

    This drive for musical excellence and virtuosity sets “Brave Old World” apart from other bands, he said.

    Critics from all over the world have expressed similar opinions.

    “The revival’s first supergroup. Every player is a virtuoso,” said “The Washington Post.

    “I dare to predict that in the future all klezmer musicians will have to measure themselves against this milestone of contemporary Jewish music,” said Berlin’s “Tip” magazine.

    “We want the audience to have a moving concert experience where their minds are taken unexpected places,” Brotman said.

    Tickets can be purchased at the HFAC ticket office and are $14 for general admission and $10 for students.

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