Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

Maxwell Street was to Chicago what the Lower East Side was to New York. At the turn of the century when the first wave of immigrants arrived in America, Chicago’s Maxwell Street quickly gained a reputation for its open-air Sunday market, perpetually crowded with Jewish pushcart peddlers and immigrants hawking their wares, bargaining and creating a carnival-like atmosphere.

Like the Yiddish theater of yesteryear, a performance of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band conveys optimism, pathos, irony, and zest for life. Audiences of all ages and backgrounds are universally delighted by their energetic, warm, and humorous performances, which include such theatrical features as the “bottle dance” (such as seen in Fiddler on the Roof).

Since 1983, the band has performed at Carnegie Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican Theater and Chicago’s Symphony Center. They have also toured Europe seven times and were featured artists in Graz, Vienna, Bern, Furth, Munich, Kassel, London, Amsterdam, Enschede, and The Hague. In addition to live performances on national Public Radio and Television, their fourth CD on the Shanachie lable, “Old Roots, New World,” was voted “Best Jewish/Hebrew/Klezmer Album” by the independent Just Plain Folks 2004 music awards.

 The band offers concerts for venues of all sizes and audiences of all backgrounds, as well as school programs and music and dance workshops.


• 2002 – Old Roots, New Woeld (Shanachie Entertainment)
• 2000 – Sweet Early Years (Klezmer Music Foundation, Inc.)
• 1997 The MATZOrena (cassette single) (KlezDance Productions)
• 1996 You Should Be So Lucky! (Shanachie Entertainment)
• 1994 The European recording Jiddisches Lied & Klezmer 4th Internationales Festival
• 1986 Maxwell St. Days (Global Village Music)

Radio & TV Highlights

•2002 Music for soundtrack: ABC Network Television: State of Grace
•2001 1-Hour Special: Do It Yourself Hanukkah, WTTW Public Television, with Peter Yarrow
•2000 Live concert filming and review: Wild Chicago, WTTW Public Television
•1999 1/2 hour special: Artbeat Chicago, WTTW Public Television
•1996 Two interviews w/live music on Aaron Freeman’s Metropolis, WBEZ (NPR)
•1995 World Stage Chicago, WTTW Public Television
•1993 WGN/Ch. 9 TV, Chicago’s Very Own
•1984, ’85 Interviews with music: The Studs Terkel Show, WFMT/FM