[photo] Henry Sapoznik

Biography | Interviews and Media | Books & Recordings | Sampler CD

Henry "Hank" Sapoznik is an award winning author, radio and record producer and performer of traditional Yiddish and American music. A pioneering scholar and performer of klezmer music, he is credited with the late 20th century revival of klezmer.

Henry Sapoznik co-produced the 10 part series the "Yiddish Radio Project" for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" in the spring of 2002, which won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism the same year he was nominated for an Emmy for his music score to the biographical documentary “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.” A pioneering scholar and performer of klezmer music, he founded "KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program" in 1985, and is the Executive Director of "Living Traditions" the folk arts organization which runs it. His book, Klezmer! Jewish Music from Old World to Our World won the 2000 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Excellence in Music Scholarship and has just been released in a new paperback edition.

In addition to his work with Yiddish culture, he is Vice President of Piedmont Folk Legacies the organization which runs the annual Charlie Poole Music Festival and the forthcoming National Banjo Museum and Center in Eden, North Carolina. He is a four time Grammy award nominee, his first in 1990 for “Partisans of Vilna” the first Yiddish recording to be nominated for a Grammy, two for his 2005 production of "You Ain't Talkin' To Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of American Country Music" for Sony Columbia/Legacy and again in 2008 for his co-production of the 3 CD anthology "People Take Warning! Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs 1913-1938." His most recent CD anthology “Ernest Stoneman: The Unsung Father of Country Music” was nominated for a 2009 Grammy for Best Historical Notes.

Interviews and Media

Here on Earth: Radio without Borders interview by Lori Skelton, April 16, 2009

University of the Air radio interview by Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach, April 12. 2009

Kick up your heels at KlezKamp by Lindsay Christians, 77 Square/The Capital Times, April 9, 2009.

Artist celebrates Yiddish music with ‘KlezKamp’ by Gwen Evans, Wisconsin Week, April 9, 2009.

Klezmer revival leader Sapoznik is Madison artist-in-residence, by Leon Cohen, The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, January 28, 2009.

Interview of Henry Sapoznik by Mark Rubin


A video celebrating the release of the two CD set, Ernest V. Stoneman "The Unsung Father Of Country Music: 1925-1934."

Henry Sapoznik lectures, filmed at the Paper Bridge Summer Arts Festival, National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA. July 15, 2008. The Forward Hour | Jewish Art Quartet

The Youngers of Zion (Henry Sapoznik, Cookie Segelstein, Mark Rubin) perform at the National Folk Festival, Richmond VA, 2006

Hank Sapoznik joins Trip Henderson and Parrish Ellisin: Goin' Across the Sea | Shady Grove | Chased Old Satan | Leake County Blues.

The Essential Henry Sapoznik

2008 "Ernest B. Stoneman: The Unsung Father of Country Music" (5 String Productions). 2009 Grammy nominee.
2007 “People Take Warning! Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs 1913-1938”  (Tompkins Square). 2008 Grammy nominee.
2005 “You Ain’t Talkin’ to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music” (Sony Columbia-Legacy) 2006 triple Grammy nominee.
2001"From Avenue A to the Great White Way: Yiddish and American Popular Songs 1912-1950" (Sony/Columbia-Legacy).
2000 “Klezmer! Jewish Music From Old World to Our World” (Shanachie) .
1997 “Klezmania: Klezmer for the New Millenium” (Shanachie).
1996 “Naftule Brandwein: King of the Klezmer Clarinet” (Rounder).
1995 “Kapelye On the Air: Old Time Yiddish Radio” (Schanachie).
1994 “Mysteries of the Sabbath: Cantorial Recordings 1908-1947 (Shanachie).
1993 “Klezmer Pioneers: European and American Recordings 1908-1947 (Rounder).
1991 “Klezmer Plus: Featuring Sid Beckerman and Howie Leess” (Rounder).
1989 “Partisans of Vilna: The Songs of World War II Jewish Resistance” (Rounder). 1990 Grammy nominee.
1982 “Klezmer Music 1910-1942:  From the Archives of the YIVO” (Smithsonian/Folkways).

2000 The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (dir. Aviva Kempner). Emmy nominee Best Musical Score, 2001.

2002 "The Yiddish Radio Project" Sound Portraits Productions/Living
Traditions/National Public Radio. Peabody Award winner.
2001 "Witness to an Execution" Sound Portraits Productions/All Things
Considered Radio Documentary.Peabody Award winner.

1999 Klezmer! Jewish Music from Old World to Our World (Schirmer Books,
New York). 2000 Deems Taylor Award for Excellence in Music Scholarship.
1987 The Compleat Klezmer, Tara Publications, Cedarhurst, NY


A Henry Sapoznik Audiology:  27 Years in 27 Minutes

(CD included in KlezKamp Program)

For nearly 30 years I have been reissuing old 78s, rebroadcasting ancient radio shows and reuniting listeners with music nearly forgotten within living memory. Here are a few of my favorites

1. Russishe Sher  2:50
One of the cornerstone pieces of the old time klezmer repertoire played by Abe Schwartz’s Orchestra, one of the greatest bands at the height of its powers.  Recorded 1927; reissued 1982 on "Klezmer Music 1910-1942."

2. Levine And His Flying Machine 3:26
This track was recorded by Charles Cohan to celebrate the flight of Charles A. Levine and Clarence Chamberlin who, just two weeks after Lindbergh’s flight, broke his distance and speed record. Recorded 1927; issued 2002 on “Music From the Yiddish Radio Project.”

3. Dave Tarras’ Bb Bulgars 4:09
From 1982-2005, pianist/conductor/arranger Pete Sokolow and I led the band Klezmer Plus! featuring great veteran New York klezmer players of the 30s and 40s such as saxophonist Howie Leess and clarinetist Sid Beckerman. Recorded 1989 for "Klezmer Plus! Featuring Sid Beckerman and Howie Leess."

4. Bulgars Medley 5:09
German Goldenstehyn, accompanied here by KlezKamp faculty, was a Holocaust survivor who arrived in the United States with little more than his clarinet and a book of every tune he had ever played. Recorded 2005 for "German Goldensshteyn: A Living Tradition."

5. The Bridegroom Special 3:31
The long running New York radio show “Yiddish Melodies in Swing” was the result of the cross-over Yiddish theater hit “Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn.” I found this 1939 track when I first began my Yiddish radio research in 1987 and aired it as part of the NPR "Yiddish Radio Project."

6. Dem Milner’s Trern (The Miller’s Tears)  5:34
Written by Mark Warshafsky about the mass expulsion of Jews from the Russian Pale of Settlement at the end of the 19th century, this version of the song came of my collaboration with Cookie Segelstein and Mark Rubin as part of The Youngers of Zion (2004).

7. B’rikh Sh’meh (Blessed Be the Name)  2:13
My late father Cantor Zindel Sapoznik was a trained cantor from the city of Rovno, Poland and survived World War 2 as a member of the Red Army Chorus. Recorded 1947 in the Bindermichl Displaced Persons Camp in Linz, Austria; issued 1994 in his memory on the cantorial anthology “Mysteries of the Sabbath.”

All tracks courtesy of and copyrighted by Henry Sapoznik.