Michael Alpert

A pioneering figure in the renaissance of East European Jewish music and Yiddish culture since the 1970s, Michael Alpert is the recipient of a 2015 National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts — the highest U.S. honor for traditional and heritage artists.

He is internationally known for award-winning performances and recordings with Brave Old World, David Krakauer, Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel, Daniel Kahn, Frank London and others. A native Yiddish speaker and one of the only contemporary singers adept in the traditional style of pre-war East European generations, he is also a celebrated innovator in Yiddish song, with original compositions on social and political themes.

Alpert was musical director of the Emmy- and Rose D’Or-winning PBS special “Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler’s House,” and has been featured in film and broadcast media worldwide.

An important link to Old World Jewish musicians, he has documented Jewish music and dance throughout the globe, is a leading teacher and scholar of the Yiddish cultural arts and has played a central role in the transmission of Ashkenazic music and dance to younger generations.

A longtime research associate of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, he is currently a senior research fellow at New York City’s Center for Traditional Music and Dance. He has taught at Oxford, Columbia and Indiana universities and the New England Conservatory of Music. He is married to the literary scholar Emily Finer.

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.