AboutKCO (Klezmer Company Orchestra) was founded by Aaron Kula in 1997 with a mission to perform world music from a broad range of cultures and historical periods. KCO features accomplished jazz and classical musicians; the ensemble varies with the orchestrations and programming for each concert. KCO performs its unique blend of ethnic orchestral jazz, as well as music from the classical repertoire. The popular ensemble continues to receive critical acclaim for its innovative musical fusion, appearing before thousands at sold-out concerts. Its debut CD Beyond the Tribes won "Best Klezmer Album" and "Best Klezmer Song" for 2009 from Just Plain Folks, the world's largest independent music organization. KCO is the professional ensemble-in-residence at Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, and is the only ensemble of its kind at an academic library in the country. Kula uses the library's vast historical print music collections as source material for new compositions. Since its inception, Klezmer Company Orchestra has successfully taken the library's music from "shelf to stage." In March 2012 KCO released its latest studio produced album Klezmerology.
Aaron Kula, music director and accordion, is an active performer, educator, composer and conductor. His lifelong interest in Classical, Jazz and Folk music led him to form the award-winning KCO (Klezmer Company Orchestra) in 1997, which performs and blends repertoire from each of these genres. Maestro Kula conducted the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) orchestra for six years before being appointed the first Director of Music Performance and Education at FAU Libraries in 2003. His interdisciplinary activities at the University include performing, archiving, and directing the annual Kultur Festival. He often lectures about the library's diverse and historical print music archives and leads educational workshops and master classes. Kula has recorded four CDs with KCO, using vintage melodies from the archives as source material for his new compositions. In 2011, the Library of Congress selected his CD Beyond the Tribes to be included in its national music archives. Kula served on the conducting faculty at New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, where he conducted high school and college orchestras from 1986 to 2012. Previously he served on the faculties of Boston University and the Chautauqua Music School in New York and guest conducted the Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Erie (Pa) Civic Ballet, Boston Conservatory Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, Boca Raton Sinfonia and New Hampshire Ballet. He has worked with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Stoltzman, Hakan Hagegard and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and has led many international orchestra tours with NEC, Harvard and Stanford universities. He has also performed with New World Symphony in Miami and served as a consultant for the Klezmer exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Maestro Kula holds a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and Judaic studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music in theory and conducting with Distinction in Performance from New England Conservatory of Music.
Chaim Rubinov, trumpet, flugelhorn, and arranger, is a native of Montreal, Canada. He has toured the U.S. and South America and has performed with renowned artists including Marvin Hamlisch, Nestor Torres and Tito Puente, Jr. A talented composer and arranger, Chaim composes many new Latin-Klezmer arrangements which have been performed and recorded by KCO. He has led bands for cruise ships and worked as a studio musician for radio and television commercials. Chaim holds a bachelor of music from the University of North Texas, where he studied with jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd.
Randi Fishenfeld, violin, studied with Juilliard professor Sylvan Schulman and developed an eclectic style of performing across genres including rock, blues, jazz, klezmer and gypsy swing. She is in demand as a recording artist and has performed with Kansas, America, Air Supply, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Valentine, Clarence Clemons and Nestor Torres. Randi tours nationally and leads her own group, Bluefire Band.
Scott Klarman, saxophones and flute, a native of South Florida, is a multi-talented instrumentalist who began musical studies with his father, an accomplished classical, commercial and recording musician. Scott attended Miami-Dade College and studied with international recording artist Ed Calle. He has performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. An innovative improvisational musician, he is in demand as a freelance and recording artist.
David Levitan, trombone, a native of South Florida, received a bachelor of music degree from the University of Florida and attended the University of North Florida's Jazz Studies Program. He worked as a musician and performer for the Walt Disney Company and has performed with internationally renowned artists including Joe Williams, Louis Bellson, Herbie Hancock, Clint Holmes, Lisa Donovan, Debbie Boone and the national tour of Hello Dolly.
Teresa Flores, world percussion, is a native of Los Angeles where she received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California. She has performed with such artists as Louie Bellson, Poncho Sanchez, Glen Velez and Mick Fleetwood. Teresa received her master of music degree from Florida International University and teaches music in the Miami-Dade school system.
Doug Friend, drums and percussion, originally from Sacramento, California, attended the world-renowned Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington where he studied percussion with Richard Johnson and George Gaber and jazz with David Baker. Doug regularly performs with Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Palm Beach Symphony, Gold Coast Singers and the Boca Raton Symphonia. He was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra from 1986 through 2003.
Valerio Cantori, piano, a native of Cento di Ferrara, Italy, earned his degree in classical piano from the Conservatorio di Carpi. He started his professional career as a pianist on cruise ships at the age of 23 performing classical, jazz, opera, pop, Latin and R&B. He has worked with international artists such as Charles Dumont, Sam Moore, Charo and Andrea Bocelli and arranged and produced the opera-show Café Fantastico for PBS.
Klezmer Company Orchestra Roster
2004 - 2013
Joan Faigen, concertmaster
Dina Kostic, concertmaster
Mei Mei Luo
Geremy Miller, concertmaster
Erika Venable, concertmaster
Sha Sha Zhang
Jackie De Los Santos
Juan Carlos Peña
FLUTES & PICCOLOS
Carlos Felipe Viña
Ebony Chorale of the
FAU Libraries Judaica
First Baptist Church
Piney Grove Choir
Karl Van Richards
Lloyd Reshard, Jr.