Life and career
Alicia Svigals, violinist, composer and vocalist, was born in January 8, 1963 in The Bronx, New York City  and studied ethnomusicology at Brown University. During the 1980s and 1990s, she studied with older klezmer violinist Leon Schwartz with the intent of reviving the style and technique of the klezmer violin tradition which had largely disappeared, and of which few recorded examples remain. Although classically trained since childhood, she also travelled around Europe and Israel in her youth and tried to learn local styles. Of her playing style, she said that it is "a combination of old fiddle style, clarinet technique, and this sort of Greek-Turkish timbre [... it's] half reconstructed-half invented."
Svigals was one of the founders in 1986 of the band the Klezmatics, and co-led the ensemble until 2001. With them, she appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Rosie O'Donnell's Kids are Punny, Good Morning America, MTV News, Nickelodeon, and NPR's New Sound and Weekend Edition. As a composer for the group, she provided music for the play A Dybbuk by Tony Kushner, and collaborations with poet Allen Ginsberg and Israeli singer Chava Alberstein. They also performed with Itzhak Perlman on PBS' Emmy-winning Great Performances documentary In the Fiddler's House and on the Late Show with David Letterman, and appeared together in concert at Radio City Music Hall, Tanglewood, and Wolf Trap.
Svigals has been commissioned to compose for the Kronos Quartet, as well as recording for the television series The L Word. She was awarded the Foundation for Jewish Culture's 2013 New Jewish Culture Network commission for her original score to the 1918 silent Pola Negri film The Yellow Ticket. In 2014 she was an NEA MacDowell Fellow in composition, and a fellow at LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture.
She is featured on recordings by such Hasidic artists such as Avraham Fried and Lipa Schmeltzer. She has collaborated with 'second generation' author Thane Rosenbaum, whose novel The Golems of Gotham is based in part on Svigals. She is featured on Herb Alpert’s 2008 recording of the Yiddish theater song "Belz", arranged by Marvin Hamlisch. Other recording, performing and composing collaborators include Diane Birch, Gary Lucas, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, John Cale, Ben Folds, John Zorn, Debbie Friedman.
- Rogovoy, Seth. "Rogovoy Report 7/14/17". Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Svigals, Alicia - Jewish Music WebCenter". jmwc.org. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Svigals, Alicia (Winter 1998–1999), "Alicia Svigals: The Klezmer Fiddle Revival", Fiddler Magazine, archived from the original on 2009-03-28, retrieved 2008-11-12
- Svigals, Alicia (December 2007), "Queer Klezmer Quandary", Sh'ma, retrieved 16 September 2012
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