In spring 2011, prompted by student interest following a one-off class on klezmer (as part of the Wolrd Muisc module), we advertised an extra-curricular (i.e. non-assessed) klezmer ensemble and were astounded by the immediate response by 20+ students.
We ran the ensemble in this mode for remainder of that academic year. Such was the positive reception it received by the participants and the Music Department, that it became a new option within the (assessed) Ensemble Performance module for the 2011-12 academic year.
None of these developments would have possible without the financial support of the Jewish Music Institute and the department itself. And we received very positive encouragement from Michael Kahan’s family to honour his memory and celebrate his passion for klezmer through this new ensemble.
The first cohort (see picture) of willing klezmorim were real pioneers whose enthusiasm enabled everything else that has followed and for this contribution to klezmer at Manchester we are indeed grateful.
One memory really stays with us from that era – the ‘flash-busking’ of these pioneers one lunch-time on the steps of the Martin Harris Centre ….