Alex Kontorovich

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Born: September 22, 1980    Primary Instrument: Sax, alto

Twenty six year-old clarinetist and saxophonist Alex Kontorovich was born in Russia and currently resides in New York City. He has worked alongside musicians such as Frank London, Brad Shepik, Steven Bernstein, Mike Sarin, Theodore Bikel, Paul Shapiro, Paul Brody, Peter Apfelbaum, Reuben Radding, Chris Washburne, Curtis Hasselbring, Dan Weiss, Aaron Alexander, Brandon Seabrook, Matt Darriau, David Krakauer, Margot Leverett, Alan Bern, Christian Dawid, Sanne Moricke, Michael Alpert, Henry Sapoznik, Peter Sokolow, Fima Efron, J Granelli, Alicia Svigals, and many others.

He has performed all over the world at venues such as the Lincoln Center and Birdland in New York; the Royal National Theatre in London; the National Arts Centre in Ottawa; Planet Music in Vienna; the Hackesches Hoftheatre in Berlin; the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow; and the Beer Festival in Tel Aviv....
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Alex Kontorovich is one of the young rising stars on the NYC and international klezmer, classical and jazz scenes. Born in Russia before Glasnost, Kontorovich brings to his music early vivid memories of Jewish repression and scarcity of necessities. Perhaps these recollections are partly responsible for his ability to blend the freedom of jazz with klezmer's Eastern European identity in such an elegant way. In addition, his overall persona differentiates him from the stereotypical “twenty-something.” A martial arts black belt, math professor at Brown University, and classically trained musician, Kontorovich represents the best of his cohorts diversity. Add to that stunning credentials in klezmer and modern jazz (the Klezmatics, Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-Stars, Jamie Begian's Big Band, the Toronto Philharmonia, the Waterloo Symphony, DJ SoCalled, Aaron Alexander's Midrash Mish Mosh, King Django's Roots and Culture Band, KlezSka, the Brellochs Saxophone Quartet, founding member of the Klez Dispensers) and it is no accident that this music is an exciting and positive reflection of the next Jewish and jazz generation coming of age amidst a myriad of multicultural influences. (From the liner notes by Elliott Simon, All About Jazz)

”In clarinetist Alex Kontorovich, the stately playing of Dave Tarras lives on. Like Tarras, Kontorovich holds much in reserve, carefully parceling out the trademark achy, bent notes--the krekhts and kneytshn that klezmer inherited from cantorial music--using them as delicately placed punctuation.” Review of Klez Dispensers “New Jersey Freylekhs”, Seth Rogovoy, The Forward.

”...reed player Alex Kontorovich played a hypnotic solo.” Review of KlezSka live concert, Seth Rogovoy, Berkshire Eagle.

As a Leader/Producer

Deep Minor
Tracks: Transit Strike Blues; Kandels Burning; New Orleans Funeral March; Waltz for Piazzolla; Sirba; Nossim Hora; AfroJewban Suite; Tzitzit.
Personnel: Brandon Seabrook (guitar, banjo); Reuben Radding (bass); Aaron Alexander (drums); Alex Kontorovich (clarinet, alto sax, compositions).

German Goldenshteyn: A Living Tradition
Tracks: Concert Freylakhs; Hora; Garofitsa; Betuta din Yaloveny; Jewish Hora; Zhokul Rezeshilor; Bulgar Medley; Khosidl; Moldavian Freylakhs; Gypsy Hora; Sirba; Polka; Wedding Hora; Freylakhs Medley; Russian Medley; Tserenkutsa.
Personnel: German Goldenshteyn: clarinet; Aaron Alexander: poyk; Josh Horowitz: accordion; Alex Kontorovich: clarinet, producer; Mark "Rubinchik" Rubin: tuba; Henry "Hank" Sapoznik: tenor banjo; Cookie Segelstein: fiddle; Susan Watts: trumpet.

The Klez Dispensers: New Jersey Freylekhs
Tracks: Russische Tzigane; Dave's Freylekh; Doina; Karnofsky Tanz; Yismekhu Khosid'l; Tanz Istanbul; Freylekh Nushiele; Hora; Abi Gezunt; New Jersey Freylekhs; Freymilekh; Zefki; Goldenshteyn Freylekh; Der Heyser Bulgar.
Personnel: Alex Kontorovich (clarinet, alto and baritone sax); Ben Holmes (trumpet); Adrian Banner (piano); Amy Zakar (violin, mandolin); Audrey Betsy Wright (alto and tenor sax, clarinet); Julian Rosse (bass); Gregg Mervine (drums); Inna Barmash (vocals).

As A Side Musician

Carnival Conspiracy
Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars
Tracks: In Your Garden Twenty Fecund Fruit Trees; Oh Agony, You are so Sweet Like Sugar I Must to Eat You Up; Another Glass of Wine to Give Succor to My Ailing Existence; Midnight Banda Judea; In the Marketplace All Is Subterfuge; Who Knows One?; Pantagruel, Shiker Hindert Prozent; A Time of Desire--Curha Mix; Our Ancestors Forty Thousand Years Wide; Out of What?; Mi Yamalay; Borracho # 1 The Cobbles in the Street Moan for You.
Personnel: Frank London: trumpet, peck horn; Susan Hoffman Watts: trumpet; Merlin Shepherd: clarinets; Matt Darriau: clarinet, alto saxophone; Alex Kontorovich: clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone, skronk guitar; Jacob Garchik: baritone horn, trombone; Ron Caswell: tuba; Mark Rubin: tuba, baritone horn, tex-mex guitar; Aaron Alexander: drums.

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