Traditional Jewish trio to play at Temple Beth David

Stahlhammer Klezmer Classic Trio
Courtesy Mikhail Teleshev
Stahlhammer Klezmer Classic Trio Courtesy Mikhail Teleshev
Published February 6 2018
Updated February 8 2018

SPRING HILL — Hosting the Sweden-based Stahlhammer Klezmer Classic Trio in concert will be a new experience for Temple Beth David.

"It brings something completely unique to the area," event organizer Marlene Shaw said about the group’s presentation of traditional eastern European Jewish classical and folk music on Feb. 25.

"Klezmer tears at the heart in a happy way and also in a heart-rending, sad way," she said.

The concert in Spring Hill will be the trio’s Florida debut. Members include Semmy Stahlhammer, who plays the violin, his wife Isabel Blomme, who plays the cello, and Sergei Teleshev, who plays the accordion. Since its formation in 2009, the group, which has sometimes engaged Mariam Oldenburg on the accordion, has performed in several US cities as well as in Australia, Asia and Europe. Its wide-ranging repertoire has taken it to venues including classical and folk music festivals, churches, synagogues, Romany cultural centers, Swedish TV and radio, schools, libraries and chamber music associations.

Shaw learned about the trio from one of Temple Beth David’s "snow birds," Kenneth Becker, who resides for most of each year in Sweden. Becker once was a classmate of Stahlhammer’s.

"During the years, we have been in touch from time to time, and last autumn, I was invited to a performance by Semmy at the Stallet in Stockholm," Becker said. "After the performance, I talked with Semmy and [he mentioned] that they were planning a performance in Miami, and it could be fun to visit my congregation as well, while being in the state, and meet some more people."

Along with leading the Stahlhammer Klezmer Classic Band, Semmy Stahlhammer is first concertmaster of the Stockholm Royal Opera, a faculty member of the Stockholm Royal Music College and appears as a solo artist on numerous CD recordings.

"Semmy was a child prodigy," Becker said. "He was playing on Swedish television when he was 8 years old."

Blommé is a graduate of Stockholm’s Musikinstitut and the Royal Music College. She has performed on TV, radio and in international music festivals in Europe, Asia, and America.

Classically trained at the Academy of Music in Voronezh, Russia, Teleshev has won regional and international accordion competitions, including the National V-Accordion Competition. He also composes and arranges music in different genres.

The original Stahlhammer Klezmer Band was founded in 1920 in Poland by Semmy’s grandfather and several uncles, playing stringed instruments, as well as harmonica, trumpet and drums. The ensemble, which later included Semmy’s father, Mischa on the violin, played klezmer music as well as the popular music of the day until World War II put an end to the band. In his book, Codename Barber, Semmy Stahlhammer tells the story of his family before, during and after the war. He recounts his father’s story of being separated from his parents and siblings, escaping from a work camp and surviving his ordeal as a land-mine specialist.

Becker hopes the concert will be a success.

"I really hope it will work out," he said. "I would be very glad if our small temple will be filled with people, and they will enjoy it."