Instrumental Klezmer Music, Artistic Director
Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle, where he began studying classical violin at a young age, soon branching out to Jazz and then klezmer and various folk music by age 12. He went on to study composition with Joan Tower, as well as classical and jazz violin at Bard College in New York. Craig first made a name for himself in New York as an American trad musician, where he was a founding member of The Dust Busters, who released an album with their mentor John Cohen on the prestigious Smithsonian Folkways Label. He later joined the band Litvakus, one of the only contemporary bands devoted to the regional style of the Northern European, or Litvish Jews. In recent years he has devoted himself to the intensive study of the few old Jewish fiddlers in the early part of the 20th century, as well as deepening his understanding of the Litvish style. He has performed with some of the best contemporary Klezmer musicians, including Michael Alpert, Alan Bern, Lorin Sklamberg, Christian Dawid and Daniel Kahn. Craig is a founder, arranger and fiddler in Goyfriend, a new collaboration between members of Litvakus and Sasha Lurje that explores the relationship between the Jews and their Baltic and Slavic neighbors. Together with Ms. Lurje, he also founded Lebedik, a band devoted to Yiddish song in its various forms. He also performs with Berlin-based swing band The Ragtime Nightmare his own band Interstate Express which plays a variety of American old-time folk music. Craig has been a music educator for over a decade, including at various festivals and workshops, such as Yiddish Summer Weimar, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, London Klezfest, and is on the organizational team of Shtetl Neukölln and Seattle Yiddish Fest. He has performed at many Yiddish music festivals, including Lviv Klezfest, Singer Festival in Warsaw, Yiddish New York, KlezKanada and Klezmore in Vienna. Craig strives to integrate all aspects of Yiddish style and expression into his teaching - dance, speech, song, gesture, etc. His goal is to give students a sense of context and connection to the music, sharing not just the notes but the culture, while making sure to create spaces that are open and inviting to everyone.