Oct 5 and 6: Semer Ensemble Concert and Workshops


CFY invites you to join Ashkenaz for an upcoming concert and workshop series by the Semer Ensemble 



Concert Date: October 5, 2023 at 8:00pm ET

Location: Lyric Theatre, Meridian Arts Centre, 5040 Yonge St.

Cost: $40 plus HST and fees


To Purchase Tickets for the Semer Ensemble Concert on October 5, CLICK HERE.


Ashkenaz is excited to welcome Germany’s Semer Ensemble back to Toronto, following tour de force performances here in 2016 and 2017.

Founded in 2012, the Semer Ensemble performs rare music recorded by Jewish artists in Berlin during the 1930s on the almost unknown “Semer” record label. This eclectic repertoire captures a fascinating moment in history, with German Jewry on the brink of an unimaginable cataclysm, but continuing to express its heritage and artistry in a variety of musical styles, and often in direct response to the circumstances of the era. Following the destruction of the record label’s shop on Kristallnacht in 1938, the entire Semer catalogue of hundreds of precious, unique recordings was thought lost for decades. Remarkably, through the efforts of some tenacious scholars and record collectors, the entire catalogue was re-assembled in the early 21st century and subsequently re-released. Since then those recordings have been transformed into an incredibly artful and moving concert experience that features some of the leading singers and instrumentalists of the Yiddish culture scene of the last 40 years.

The Semer Ensemble all-star lineup is led by accordionist and pianist Alan Bern (Brave Old World, Other Europeans, Yiddish Summer Weimar), and includes acclaimed vocalists Lorin Sklamberg (Klezmatics), Daniel Kahn (The Painted Bird), Sasha Lurje (Forshpil), and Fabian Schnedler (Fayvish). The ensemble is completed with instrumental virtuosos, Mark “Stempenyuk” Kovnatskiy (violin) and Martin Lillich (bass).

Join us for a very special performance by the Semer Ensemble, featuring songs in Yiddish, German, Russian, and Hebrew accompanied by English subtitles. For a taste of what’s in store, check out this mini-doc from the group’s last performance in Toronto six years ago.

Berlin’s Semer Ensemble will also be hosting a program of workshops on Friday October 6, 10:30am - 3pm, at the brand new Toronto Holocaust Museum (4588 Bathurst St). This is a rare opportunity to work directly with these world-class artists and learn more about the extraordinary music and stories behind the Semer Ensemble. The three-part program is open to all; participants are welcome to attend all three components or pick and choose which to attend, all for a single price. Registration for the workshops includes free access to explore the Museum (which is normally closed on Fridays).

CLICK HERE for the workshop schedule and to register


Presented by Ashkenaz, in association with Toronto Holocaust Museum, with support from the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany, Lufthansa, Toronto Workmen’s Circle Foundation, and UJA Committee For Yiddish.