Living Traditions, founded in
1994, is dedicated to the celebration and continuity of community-based
traditional Yiddish culture. Living Traditions brings the
lush bounty of Yiddish culture to new generations in ways
both inspiring and relevant to contemporary Jewish life. Not
as a symbol of a lost world, or as a “duty” to
perpetuate but as a meaningful part of one’s active
personal identity in a multi-cultural world. Living Traditions
places a high value on cultural literacy by presenting Yiddish
music, dance, history, folklore, crafts and visual arts through
its classes, publications, recordings and documentaries as
well as through “KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program,”
now in its 29th year. Living Traditions thus encourages the
development of a worldwide Jewish community knowledgably steeped
in its language, culture and traditions, too often forgotten
in modern Jewish life.
Henry "Hank" Sapoznik (Executive Director) is an
award winning author, radio and record producer and performer
of traditional Yiddish and American music.
He co-produced the 10 part series the "Yiddish
Radio Project" for National Public Radio's "All Things
Considered" in the spring of 2002 which won the prestigious
Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism the
same year he was nominated for an Emmy for his music score
to the biographical film The Life and
Times of Hank Greenberg.
A pioneering scholar and performer of klezmer music, he founded
"KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program" in 1985, and is the Executive
Director of "Living Traditions" the folk arts organization which runs
it. His book, Klezmer! Jewish Music from Old World to Our World won the
2000 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Excellence in Music Scholarship and
has just released in a new paperback edition.
He is a five-time Grammy nominee, including his 2005 production of "You Ain't Talkin' To Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of American Country Music" for Sony Columbia/Legacy and again in 2008 for his co-production of the 3 CD anthology "People Take Warning! Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs 1913-1938" and 2009's "Ernest V. Stoneman: The Unsung Father of Country Music 1925-1934."
In addition to his work with Yiddish culture, he is Vice
President of Piedmont Folk Legacies the organization which
runs the annual Charlie Poole Music Festival and the forthcoming
National Banjo Museum and Center in Eden, North Carolina.
Sherry Mayrent (Associate Director, KlezKamp)
came to her first KlezKamp in 1987, an accomplished clarinetist
in styles other than klezmer. Within a few years, she transitioned
from student to apprentice to Staff in 1995 and in 2001, as
the Associate Director of Living Traditions and KlezKamp.
Mayrents KlezKamp experience led to her becoming the
clarinetist and musical director of the Wholesale Klezmer
band, the Western Massachusetts ensemble she joined in 1990.
In addition, she is also a record producer and a prolific
composer of traditional klezmer tunes. Her passion for traditional
Yiddish culture is equaled only by her passion for traditional
Film composer, flutist and keyboardist Sarah
Plant (Associate Director, Living Traditions) scores
features, documentaries and multi-media museum installations.
She worked on Ang Lee's Oscar-nominated feature Eat
Drink Man Woman and has composed for PBS, ITVS, Bravo,
Canal+ (France), CBC (Canada), Hallmark, the Center for Asian
American Media, and for Spanish, Swiss and other European
TV. Sarah composed a commission for Bill T. Jones Dance Company
and has scored American Museum of Natural History biodiversity
films. She has received awards/grants from ASCAP, the NEA
and the American Music Center. She is former Music Editor
of Sing Out! magazine, and specializes
in music from around the world. www.sarahplantmusic.com
(Administrative Associate) has been at Living Traditions
since 2008. She is a theater maker, puppeteer, photographer
and singer of music from folk and avant garde improvisational
music to classical and jazz. For the past 10 years, Amy has
been a core member of the Brooklyn-based puppetry company,
Drama of Works, as well as a principal artist in the New York/London-based
vocal and movement-based performance group, Experience Vocal
Dance Company since 2005. She is the great granddaughter of
Armenian Composer, Grikor Mirzaian Suni, and has an innate
thirst for traditional music from around the world.