History of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
The Maxwell Street marketplace was to Chicago what the Lower East Side was to New York. At the turn of the century, when the first major wave of Russian Jewish immigrants settled in America, Chicago's Maxwell Street became famous for its open-air Sunday marketplace crowded with Jewish pushcart-peddlers--an institution which has survived in the hands of fresh waves of immigration. The band was named in tribute to the spirit of Chicago's early immigrants.
In 1983, Lori Lippitz founded the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. In the years since, Maxwell Street has become the Midwest's most popular klezmer band, touring numerous times in Europe and performing throughout the U.S. including Carnegie Hall. Audiences of all backgrounds are delighted by Maxwell Street's high-energy performances that glow with warmth and humor.
Our Performances have been staged across America and Europe. In 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2009, the band performed concerts across Europe including in Germany, London, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Enschede and The Hague. In 1998, the band gave their debut performance at Carnegie Hall and at New York's Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. Maxwell Street has appeared on the PBS program "World Stage Chicago" in 1995, and was featured again on Public Television's "Artbeat Chicago" in March 1999. One of their songs was featured in an episode of ABC's "Saving Grace." Maxwell Street has been featured annually on Network Chicago's (PBS) "Do It Yourself Hanukkah" television special.
In 2013, Maxwell Street marked its 30th “Bandiversary” at The Old Town School of Folk Music with two sold-out concerts. In 2014, Maxwell Street Band Director and Violinist Alex Koffman was the featured soloist with Chicago Sinfonietta at Symphony Center in Chicago in Levinson’s “Klezmer Rhapsody.” The same year, Maxwell Street was featured in the world’s first klezmer opera with The Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Maxwell Street received the "Best Jewish Album" Award in 2004 in the Independent Music Just Plain Folks Awards. The band has recorded five CDs. Their 2008 release, "Eight Nights of Joy", features Hanukkah music with singer-songwriter Rabbi Joe Black.