Margot Leverett

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Margot Leverett is a New York-based clarinettist. Born in Ohio, she lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Buffalo, New York before studying at Indiana University School of Music. At Indiana, she was classically trained.[1] Leverett later became interested in klezmer, a traditional musical style of the Jews of Eastern Europe.[2][3] She studied with klezmer clarinettist Sidney Beckerman[4] and was a founding member of The Klezmatics in 1985.[2] The Klezmatics, a band associated with the Klezmer Revival of the 1980s and onward, would later become the first klezmer band to win a Grammy Award.[5][6][7]

In 1999, Leverett was a founding member of another klezmer band called Mikveh. This band is named after the mikveh, a traditional ritual bath in which Orthodox Jewish women immerse themselves. They released a self-titled album in 2001, described by Rambles magazine as "a potent and heady mix of passion and power."[8] Mikveh calls itself a band whose music "reflects the experience of Jewish women," drawing on Yiddish song and klezmer instrumentation to produce a mixture of older pieces, newer adaptations of historical material, and original compositions.[9]

Leverett also released a solo CD called The Art of Klezmer Clarinet in 2001. The 17-track album was favorably reviewed—Klezmershack.com called it a "tribute to greats of the American Klezmer clarinet" and a "tremendous leap in skill and soulfulness."[10][11]

Her current musical project is The Klezmer Mountain Boys, a band she founded in 2001 that aims to fuse the styles of klezmer and bluegrass.[11][12][13] The Klezmer Mountain Boys have released two albums: a self-titled album in 2002 and an album called Second Avenue Square Dance. Leverett said, “I’ve always liked American fiddle tunes of all kinds—Cajun tunes, fiddle tunes, bluegrass. I didn’t get many opportunities to play it, because clarinet is not so invited at these parties. But the more I heard it the more I wanted to give it a try.”[1]

Leverett has been a guest soloist for the Philadelphia Orchestra.[1] She teaches at several klezmer camps, especially KlezKamp where she has served as an instructor for over 10 years.[12]

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