Ilene Stahl

Ilene Stahl always wanted to play in a rock band but “says she didn't know” she picked the wrong instrument. Nevertheless, she's been called the “Jimi Hendrix of klezmer clarinet” for her pyrotechnic performance style and soulful interpretations of traditional Yiddish music.

She has been the clarinetist with the Klezmer Conservatory Band since 1987. She came to Boston immediately after graduating from Hampshire College, where she did her Division III thesis, “Special Oy-fects: The Art of Klezmer Clarinet.”

With the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Stahl has performed extensively throughout the United States and on all international tours. She has been featured on many recordings and on radio and TV broadcasts, including the “Great Performances” program “In the Fiddler's House” with Itzhak Perlman, as well as both recordings based on that collaboration.

In 1998, Stahl founded Klezperanto, along with music director and accordionist Evan Harlan, to create a new kind of dance music that would combine the irresistible rhythms of zydeco, cumbia, funk, second-line and Romanian brass band surf music with klezmer.

Stahl also teaches clarinet. Many of her students from Boston, Klez Kamp and Klez Canada have gone on to form klezmer bands of their own.

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