Masterclass: The Fellowship of the Strings
Before wind and brass instruments began appearing in klezmer ensembles of the late 19th and early 20th century, klezmer music was performed almost exclusively by fidl kapelyes (string orchestras) that featured all members of the violin family, the tsimbl (similar to a hammer dulcimer), and the poyk (percussion).
Aiming to recreate the sound of these classic European klezmer ensembles, the Festival Strings Masterclass is a unique group of professional and amateur musicians assembled for the 2012 Ashkenaz Festival. This ensemble, under the expert tutelage of Veretski Pass, will learn Jewish, Ukrainian, and Moldavian tunes known in the Carpathian mountain town of Cookie's father, Nizhni Veretski. All three ensemble members, Cookie, Stu and Josh, will circulate around the participants, showing the fine points of creating heterophonic melody lines, specific harmonic dissonances, bass lines, fills, turnarounds and cadential variations that make the old style uniquely energetic. The ensemble will work with improvisation in the old style, isolating motivic cells and varying them immediately through the "Simon Says" method. Participants will learn the function of melodies and their accompaniments, ornamentation and variation, culminating in a multi-level suite.