Fellowship of the Strings

Masterclass: Fellowship of the Strings

Masterclasses: (all in Miss Lou’s Room, Harbourfront Centre)
Saturday, September 1, 4pm-6pm*
Sunday, September 2, 10am-12pm
Monday, September 3, 10am-12pm

Monday, September 3, 6pm-7pm, Redpath Stage


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 Fellowship of the 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, taught and refined with all three members, Cookie, Stu and Josh circulating 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.

Participants of the masterclass will attend three 2-hour masterclasses with Veretski Pass and perform LIVE at the 2012 Ashkenaz Festival. All participants will receive a sample of sheet music in advance. All Ages Welcome!

Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Tsimbl and Mandolin. 

Please Note: The class is catered towards an intermediate level and up and requires basic musical literacy. Veretski Pass will be teaching the class mostly by ear, and full sheet music will be provided at the end. In this way, participants will have the experience of folk style learning, complete with improvisation. A sampling of repertoire can be provided in advance, and charts will be on hand for those who are not as familiar with ear learning. Please bring your own instrument and music stand, and a recording device if possible.

Those who observe Shabbat can still participate! If you observe Shabbat, you may miss the Saturday masterclass. In this case, please ensure you review all the repertoire and come prepared for the Sunday and Monday classes in order to be ready to perform. 

To register, please email janis [at] ashkenazfestival [dot] com or call 416-979-9955 with your expression of interest to ensure a spot in the masterclass. There will be a registration/participation fee of $30. Following your expression of interest, you will be emailed a registration form to fill out and email back. Thank you!