Maxwell Street Klezmer Band to Perform at USF

Jan. 17, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

On Sunday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. the University of St. Francis (USF) will welcome the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band to the Sexton Auditorium.

“Klezmer” is a Hebrew word combining the words “kley” (meaning “vessel”), and “zemer” (meaning “melody”), with both referring to musical instruments from ancient times. At one time, the word “klezmer” referred to music played with specific instruments, but now it encompasses a large variety of revivals.

In the early 20th century, Jewish refugees fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe arrived at America’s shores. Many of them continued to play their traditional music, adding jazz stylings and instruments popular at the time. Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, which is named after Chicago’s famous Jewish marketplace, revives this blend of Old Country and Big Band that has been captured on records from the 1920s and 1930s. The band also combines classical elements into its arrangements. Audiences of all backgrounds are delighted by Maxwell Street’s high-energy performances that glow with warmth and humor.

The audience will enjoy the use of clarinet, saxophone, violin, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass and percussion, rounded out by a duet of female vocalists.

Founded in 1983 by Lori Lippitz, Maxwell Street has played at Carnegie Hall and toured Europe. The band marked its 30th “band-iversary” at The Old Town School of Folk Music in 2013. Musical Director and violinist Alex Koffman was the featured soloist with the Chicago Sinfonietta in a classical klezmer composition performed at Symphony Center. In 2014, the band was featured with The Lyric Opera of Chicago in a modern klezmer opera called “The Property.” The band is recording its sixth album in 2017.

More information can be found at For tickets to the Feb. 23 performance, please visit

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,850 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are 47,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.