Alicia Svigals is the world's leading klezmer fiddler, a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics who she co-led for seventeen years, and a composer who was selected to be a 2014 MacDowell Fellow.   She has played with and composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and  Eve Ensler, the late poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman, Avraham Fried, singer/songwriters Diane Birch, Gary Lucas and Najma Akhtar, and many others. She has appeared on David Letterman, MTV, PBS' Great Performances, NPR's Prairie Home Companion, Weekend Edition and New Sounds, and on the soundtrack for the L-Word.  

Svigals is the recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture's 2013 New Jewish Culture Network commission for her new score to the 1918 Pola Negri silent movie The Yellow Ticket.  She is currently touring this multimedia event, in which she and pianist Marilyn Lerner perform live to screenings of the film.

An interview with Svigals about composing her song cycle, Seduction in Eynaim:


photo by Lloyd Wolf



Klezmer is the traditional celebration music of East European Jewry, played in the old world and the new at weddings, bas/bar mitzvahs and other simkhes, or happy occasions.  At turns euphoric and heart-wrenching, its beauty and high emotion have made it a worldwide phenomenon, as electrifying on the concert stage as it is exciting to dance to with family and friends. Along with her longtime collaborator, Yiddish dancemaster Steve Weintraub, Svigals has been working to bring back the joyful tradition of freylekhs, horas and shers to community events around the world.