Efim Chorny ensemble - Genève - 2 avril 2017
Efim CHORNY ensemble
Songs from the Yankev Ber Gimpel Yiddish Theatre

Sunday 2 April 2017 - 5PM
Cité-Bleue - 46 av. Miremont - 1206 Genève

introduction / video souvenir of the evening
Musical extracts / videos
videoclip / videoclip

Jacob-Ber Gimpel was one of the pioneers of the Yiddish theatre.
In 1889 in Lemberg/Lviv (now in Ukraine), Jacob-Ber Gimpel founded the first independent and permanent Yiddish theatre in Europe. At that time the population of Lemberg numbered 160,000 inhabitants, a third of whom were Jews. This unique demographic situation allowed the new Yiddish theatre to enjoy an important audience in the town; it was not just a "travelling theatre ».
Although it originally performed in a religious context, at the end of the XIXth century the Yiddish theatre developed its own genre, hoping to offer its audiences an escape from their daily worries and hardships. Later on, the Yiddish theatre culture played an important part in the development of a new Jewish identity, at the crossroads of different cultures and traditions, and despite growing antisemitism, experienced a remarkable artistic growth.
The Lviv Gimpel-Theater was not only a mainstay for travelling Jewish theatre actors, but it also developed its own style of musical drama and was often invited to perform in other towns.
Franz Kafka, in 1910, attended such a performance in Prague and was deeply moved. Joseph Roth and Marc Chagall mentioned the work of the Gimpel Theatre as an influence and inspiration for their own creative work. The novel "Blondzhende Shtern" by the famous Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem is based on his experience on a visit to Lviv in 1905.
Until the outbreak of WWII, the Gimpel Theatre performed regularly, often including major modern influences.
The renewal of Klezmer music owes a lot to the Yiddish theatre, and the Gimpel Theatre Quartet gives new life to forgotten musical treasures.
This ensemble has discovered songs from this period of the Gimpel Theatre’s great creativity and has organised them in an evening concert aiming to provide a setting for these lost cultural jewels.
The Gimpel Theatre Quartet is composed of the singer Efim Chorny, the pianist Susan Ghergus from Moldavia, Sasha Somish (vocal) from Lemberg / Ukraine and Vanessa Vromans (violon, vocals) from Australia, all four well known in the world of Jewish traditional music. 
 by Stella Jurgensen (Hambourg)

Sasha Somish


Alexandra Somish is a Yiddish singer from Lviv, in Ukraine, and one of the major actors in the Lviv Jewish Theatre "Beginning", founder and leader of the "Varnitshkes" ensemble and administrator of the "LvivKlezFest" festival organised by l'AUJCF "Hesed-Arieh".
Born in Lviv in 1980, she holds a specialist degree in philology and folklore from the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv. In 2001, she became the singer in the «Lviv Klezmer Band», the group which participated in the filming of the documentary «Der stille Bug» (2004) produced by the German television channel ARD. At the same time, Alexandra made a Yiddish song tour with Tatiana Kislenko and her husband, Alexey Darmodekhin, the "Anakhnu" ensemble.
In 2007, she created the vocal and instrumental ensemble «Varnitshkes». This song-oriented Jewish band aims at drawing the young generation towards Yiddishkeit culture, and performs with success in Ukraine and abroad (Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy and Russia). In 2008, she studied Yiddish language, literature and culture in New York, in the Uriel Weinreich programme. She has actively participated in klezmer forums in Saint-Petersburg, Kiev, Moscow, London, Kharkov and Kazan, and participated with her ensemble in the EUROPEAN JEWISH CHOIR FESTIVAL in Vienna (2013) and Rome (2014), and has received various rewards in Jewish music and theatre festivals, such as ʺHatikvaʺ (Kiev), ʺLight a Candleʺ (Moscow), ʺChernihiv Autumnʺ (Chernihiv) and ʺConstellation of Lionʺ (Lvov) where she was elected best actress in the play "Shosha".

Efim Chorny


Efim Chorny, born in Kishinev, is one of the most important leaders in the renaissance of Eastern Europe Jewish culture. Efim, singer of Jewish songs, performing on stage since since the age of 6, graduated from the Kishinev Music Conservatory and has directed the Jewish Song Theatre there since 1992. He has presented his exceptional repertoire of Yiddish songs in Romania, Greece, Estonia, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Austria and the United States.
Efim Chorny was awarded first prize in the «S.Micheels international competition for Jewish songs » in Moscow. He has worked as a professor in numerous international festivals in Kiev, Saint-Petersburg, Vienna, Paris, Detroit and Moscow. His vocal compositions are taught and sung in numerous Yiddish festivals across the world and quickly found their way into the Yiddish song repertoire.
Efim’s characteristics – a charismatic presence, an exceptional voice,  and a vibrant temperament – make him a successor to the great Yiddish Song tradition; a tradition which he personifies.

Susan Ghergus


Susan Ghergus studied piano at the Kishinev Music Conservatory. Since 1992, she has been the music director of Jewish vocal songs at the Kishinev Theatre and plays duo with Efim Chorny. Her concerts have been widely acclaimed all over Europe and the United States. She has been a long time specialist in the accompaniment and arrangement of Jewish songs. In addition to a vast experience in the techniques of classical piano, Susan is also an expert in the style of Jewish dance music. This combination makes her an exceptional musician because she can mix klezmer rhythms with Yiddish song melodies in the purest style of Bessarabia.


violin, vocals

Born in Curaçao to a Dutch father and an  Australian mother, Vanessa grew up in Australia and studied violin in Holland in the conservatories of Maastricht and Rotterdam, where she not only graduated (bachelor and master) in solo classical violin but also studied, in the World Music Department, various musical styles such as the tango, flamenco and salsa. allowing numerous workshops and taking private lessons all over the world with teachers such as Michael Alpert, Alan Bern, Steven Greenman, Cookie Segelstein, Deborah Strauss and Alicia Svigals, Vanessa was introduced into the secrets of the Yiddish style. She rapidly made a name for herself on the international klezmer scene and has actively participated in a host of projects.
She founded the Rotterdam Klezmer Band (in Holland), played in the Intercontinental Klezmer Band (in Germany) and appeared with groups such as Khevrisa, in the United States, Shtetl Band Amsterdam, in Holland, Di Fidl Kapelye, and Global Shtetl Band, in Germany. Vanessa lives in Bonn, Germany.

These passionate and fascinating musicians are exceptional authors/composers/singers/performers, who can also improvise at will with audacity and zest.
Drawing from a heritage of diverse origins, they offer us their talent and propose an original programme rich in surprises, a genuine bridge between eras, from sparkling Mittel-Europa to our days, an invitation to travel across time. The AMJ Association is delighted to welcome these artists and their repertoire so representative of the Yiddish cabaret theatre.
We are also happy to invite Genevans to come and discover – or rediscover – these songs from another era of encounters, exchanges and sharing across Europe.

Yankev Ber Lemberg's Yiddish Theater

The organisation of this concert has been made possible thanks to the unflagging support of the members of the AMJ.

For all information and contact :
AMJ association - contact