AboutThe Klezmer Company Orchestra (KCO) was founded by Aaron Kula in 1997 with a mission to perform music from a broad range of genres, cultures and historical periods. The ensemble performs a unique blend of ethnic orchestral jazz, music from the classical repertoire, and musical theatre. KCO is the professional ensemble-in-residence at Florida Atlantic University Libraries and holds the distinction of being the only ensemble of its kind at an academic library in the country. Since its inception, Kula and KCO have successfully taken the library's music from "shelf to stage." KCO features accomplished jazz and classical musicians; orchestra personnel vary and are dependent on orchestrations and programming needs for each concert. In 2009, KCO released its award winning CD Beyond the Tribes and in March 2012, released its second studio produced album Klezmerology. In 2014, KCO toured Canada as invited performers of the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto and the Montreal Jewish Music Festival with their innovative Latin-Klezmer program ¡JubanoJazz!
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 Klezmer Company Orchestra at FAU Libraries where he serves as Director of Music Performance and Education. Kula's interdisciplinary activities at the University include performing, archiving music, and directing the annual Kultur Festival and the Spirit of America Festival. He regularly lectures about the library's historical print music archives and leads educational workshops and performance master classes. His innovative work has been recognized by the Library of Congress and in 2011 his CD Beyond the Tribes was selected to be included in its national music archives. Kula served on the conducting faculty at New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston from 1986 to 2012. In July 2014, he was invited by the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) to present a paper in Antwerp, Belgium about his Shelf-to-Stage activities at FAU. While touring Canada with KCO in August 2014, Kula presented a lecture titled Black Sabbath: Blues & Jews at the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto. Previously he served on the faculties of Boston University and the Chautauqua Music School in New York and appeared as guest conductor of the Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Erie (Pa) Civic Ballet, Boston Conservatory Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Sinfonia Boca Raton, and New Hampshire Ballet. He has worked with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, and has led numerous international orchestra tours with NEC, Harvard and Stanford universities. As an accordionist, he has appeared with the New World Symphony in Miami and served as a consultant for the Klezmer exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix from 2009-2011. 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.
Jose Leon, trombone and bass trombone, is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. He started his career through the "El Sistema" program with the internationally acclaimed "Simon Bolivar" Symphony Orchestras of Venezuela. He received the Master of Music from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. An accomplished classical and commercial musician, Jose has worked with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, The Manhatten Transfer, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D'Rivera, Florida Grand Opera, and the Orquesta Filarmonica UNAM (Mexico City).
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.
Jeffrey Kipperman, bass, a native of Yorktown Heights, NY is pursuing a DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. He has shared the stage with a wide range of musicians, including Terance Blanchard, Marc O' Conner, Florida Grand Opera, and The New World Symphony. Before moving to Miami, Jeff lived in Merida, Mexico where he was a member of the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra and was also a member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble.
Teresa Flores, 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.
George Mazzeo, drums and percussion, is a South Florida native and began his professional career while attending Nova High School and the University of Miami. He has performed or recorded a range of artists from Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Julio Iglesias, Ray Charles, Henry Mancini, Sammy Davis Jr., the Florida Philharmonic and the Miami City Ballet, among others. George has an extensive background playing Broadway shows,is currently the drummer for the legendary conductor Peter Nero, and teaches drums at Miami Dade College-Wolfson.
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.
Klezmer Company Orchestra Roster
2004 - 2015
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.