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David Krakauer

Instrument: Clarinet | AMT Products Used: WS

Internationally acclaimed clarinetist David Krakauer redefines the notion of a concert artist. Known for his mastery of myriad styles, he occupies the unique position of being one of the world’s leading exponents of Eastern European Jewish klezmer music; and at the same time is a major voice in classical music. Way beyond “crossover, ” he is a natural storyteller, who has long dazzled colleagues and the public with his ability to shift and meld musical gears. On any stage, he exudes an emotionally raw yet genial presence, baring a tireless spirit, humor and generosity. His best-selling classical and klezmer recordings further define his brilliant tone, virtuosity and imagination.
Krakauer is in demand far and wide as a guest soloist with the finest ensembles, including the Tokyo String Quartet, the Eroica Trio, the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Berlin Radio Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica de Barcelona, Brooklyn Philharmonic Music from Marlboro, the Lark Quartet, the Arditti String Quartet, and the Empire Brass Quintet.

As one of the foremost musicians of the vital new wave of klezmer, David Krakauer tours the globe with his extraordinary “Klezmer Madness!” ensemble. While firmly rooted in traditional klezmer folk tunes, Krakauer’s compositions for the group also pay homage to jazz, rock, experimental classical and funk. Recent ‘Klezmer Madness!” performances have included a sold-out concert at New York’s Symphony Space; a headlining show at the Dallas JCC marathon; numerous European tours, a series at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, and appearances at jazz festivals ranging from District Curators’ JazzArts Festival in Washington, DC, to Austria’s Saalfeiden Festival.
David Krakauer’s highly successful collaboration with the Kronos Quartet has thrilled audiences at London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Next Wave Festival, ” Cal Performances in Berkeley, California, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and in Copenhagen, Paris and Frankfurt. Their acclaimed recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind” for Nonesuch Records was voted one of the ten best discs of 1997 by Time Out Magazine. “Mr. Krakauer gives the work a truly gripping performance, ” wrote The New York Times.

In addition, Krakauer’s discography contains some of the most important klezmer recordings of the past decade. His latest release, “A New Hot One” on the prestigious French jazz label Label Bleu (Harmonia Mundi USA – spring 2001), represents a major step forward in enlarging the French public’s knowledge and appreciation of klezmer music. It has already garnered France’s prestigious Diapason d’Or prize and has been hailed a masterwork by the International Herald Tribune, Le Mond, Telerama, Jazzman, Jazz magazine and Les Inrockuptibles. “Klezmer, NY” (1988) on John Zorn’s Tzadik label – features his visionary suite, “A Klezmer Tribute to Sidney Bechet, ” written in honor of the 100th birthday of the legendary jazz clarinetist. Also on Tzadik is “Klezmer Madness” – one of the label’s best-selling discs. Other CDs include the groundbreaking “Rhythm and Jews” (Piranha/Flying Fish) and “Jews with Horns” (Piranha/Green Linnet) with the Klezmatics; “In the Fiddler’s House” with violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Klezmatics; and chamber music recordings on the Musical Heritage and New York Philomusica labels.

Krakauer has had recent major profiles in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The International Herald Tribune, and has appeared with Itzhak Perlman on the nationally televised Late Night with David Letterman. In October 2000 the European arts television station “Arte” aired a 54-minute feature film about his life and work. A graduate of Juilliard, he is a member of the clarinet and chamber music faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music and Queens College. For the last 20 years, he has developed a unique and literally breathtaking clarinet language using circular breathing, overtones and alternate fingerings.

The scope and variety of David Krakauer’s activities — ranging from classical chamber music to the Klezmatics, Klezmer Madness!, original compositions and collaborations with Berio, Zorn and Cage — illustrate a remarkable life in music.