is the recipient of the prestigious Weimar Prize in 2016, co-founder and chair of Other Music Academy e.V. and creator and artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar and Winter Edition. He is a composer/arranger, pianist, accordionist, educator, cultural activist and philosopher.
In 2017, Bern was honored with the Thuringia Order of Merit.
He is co-founder and director of "Brave Old World," founder and director of "The Other Europeans" and "Diaspora Redux," and he also performs with Bern, Brody & Rodach and with Guy Klucevsek.
His education included classical piano with Paul Badura-Skoda and Leonard Shure, jazz with Karl Berger, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton and others, contemporary music with John Cage, Frederic Rzewski, Joel Hoffman and others, and philosophy and cognitive science with Dan Dennett. He received his master's degree in philosophy and his doctorate in music composition.
In 2009, he was given the Ruth Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a musician and educator and achievement with "Brave Old World".
Foto: Yulia Kabakova
Mother, friend and companion. Someone who keeps things rolling. Project manager. Dedicated decaf drinker. Katrin is all these things and more: she is also the person responsible for the renovation of the Other Music Academy building and other OMA projects, working behind-the-scenes for Yiddish Summer and standing in for the chairman of the board when he happens to be away;-).
Foto: Pierre Kamin
Andreas Schmitges is a musician, dance leader, cultural manager, artistic consultant, workshop instructor and researcher, primarily in the field of Yiddish music culture. He studied jazz guitar at the Cologne University of Music before taking up the mandolin, and has authored several scientific essays on Yiddish music and dance. Andreas has been affiliated with Yiddish Summer and the Other Music Academy since the very beginning, and is happy and proud to be able to contribute to the development of Other Music Academy e.V. as a member of the board. He is the curator of YSW 2018 and the project manager and initiator of both the Triangle Orchestra and the Caravan Orchestra.
Foto: Adam Berry
Johannes Paul Gräßer
Johannes writes emails, draws up lists, makes phone calls and drinks (real) coffee: he is the project manager of Yiddish Summer Weimar and coordinator of the Other Music Academy e.V. office. He is also a musician: an accomplished violinist, he has founded several ensembles and, as a leading figure of the German klezmer movement, performs and teaches workshops throughout Germany and beyond. Through his work, which is inspired by the philosophy of the OMA/Alan Bern, he seeks to spread awareness of that philosophy in the world at large.
"Focusing on what is essential and original with an elementary sincerity any audience can identify with: that’s my aspiration."
Foto: Pierre Kamin
Xenia Eichwald studies musicology and cultural management at the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar. She also plays the piano, eats kiwis with the skin on and has been in love with Yiddish Summer since her first year as a volunteer. Studying is good; practical experience better – especially when you're surrounded by cheerful people and heartwarming music. As part of the YSW 2019 team, Xenia is responsible for artist support and travel planning.
Ben does translations and international press relations for the Other Music Academy e.V. He grew up in the US and Israel. After earning a BA in percussion at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music in 2003, he shifted his focus to the realm of literature and completed an MA in creative writing at Bar-Ilan University in 2011. From 2009, he worked as a freelance journalist for the Jerusalem Report, focusing on topics relating to contemporary Jewish culture. In 2016 he moved to Berlin where, in addition to his work as a writer, editor and translator, he studies and performs on the balafon, a traditional West African xylophone.
As a social volunteer at the Other Music Academy e.V., Antonia has been getting a taste of what it’s like to be a cultural manager. As participant support person for YSW 2019, she will be available during the festival to help people out with their questions and concerns. She finished high school in Erfurt in 2018 and this year will experience her first full-length Yiddish Summer. Her main hobby is music – both singing and playing. She’ll be at the music school Info Point during most of the festival.
Sabine first came to Yiddish Summer Weimar as a social and cultural volunteer at the Other Music Academy e.V. and is now with us for the third time. She has a background in musicology and cultural management and is responsible for the festival’s social media presence; she is also an expert in scanning databases.
Photo: Antonia Ramljak
A creative all-rounder and member of the Other Music Academy e.V. management team, Sabrina is actually a typical humanities scholar with creative ambitions and a passion for cultural events. She works as financial manager for Yiddish Summer Weimar but is also good at solving HTML or computer related problems… and at making coffee. This year, she will face a new challenge as she tackles her new job as a full-time mom – meaning she will soon be dealing more with diapers than with hypotheses and supporting evidence.
Photo: Antonia Ramljak
Katrin has been devoted to the festival and the Other Music Academy heart and soul since 2002, when, fresh from school, she attended what was then still the Weimar Klezmer Weeks. She served as a founding board member of the Other Music Academy until 2013, after which she assumed various functions within the festival management. She studied art history, psychology and modern history at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena and works as cultural manager for various cultural associations and projects.
Foto: Jörn Ziller
This is Birgit’s first year on the Yiddish Summer administrative and financial management team. She spent many years working as a cultural manager for German cultural associations in southern Africa and is looking forward to sharing her experience with the Other Music Academy team. A creative person, she enjoys providing new ideas and impulses, tackling problems big or small with words and deeds and, every now and then, philosophizing about life. She is active in promoting African artists, especially dancers, musicians and visual artists.
studied Visual Communication and worked in a Tokyo design agency before coming to Berlin, where she studied at the Hochschule der Künste (today the Universität der Künste). After obtaining her degree in 1993, she worked as an artist on sound and site installations and also as a freelance graphic designer.
Since 2010, she has been responsible for the visual image of Yiddish Summer, Other Music Academy and Other Music Academy e.V., including internet presence, posters, t-shirts and more. She has long been interested in Yiddish dance and has given workshops on the subject in Japan at "Osaka University" and "Japanese‐Jewish Friendship and Study Society in Kobe."
Since 2006, she's been a member of the Berlin-based dance ensemble "TarantaScalza" (Tarantella – traditional Southern Italian dance) with whom she has performed at many festivals.
Photo: Shendl Copitman