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About Jake

Born in New York City, Jake Shulman-Ment is among the most highly regarded klezmer musicians performing today. He tours and records internationally as a soloist, and with Midwood, Daniel Kahn, Joey Weisenberg, Abigale Reisman, Pete Rushefsky, and many others. Past collaborators have included The Painted Bird, Di Naye Kapelye, The Brothers Nazaroff, Frank London, Sanda Weigl, Adrian Receanu, Duncan Sheik, Francesca Ter-Berg, Laurel Premo, Ali Dineen, Michael Alpert, Fleytmuzik, MetroFolk, and Romashka.


Jake first began playing violin at the age of 3, and went on to study classical technique with renowned violin pedagogues Gerald Beal and Joey Corpus. Beginning studies in klezmer from age 12, he was initially a protégé of Alicia Svigals. Jake later immersed himself in related violin traditions, living in Greece, Hungary, and Romania for extended periods, becoming fluent in both the musical and spoken languages. In his early 20's he served the Hungarian folk dance community as New York's premier prímás (lead dance fiddler), playing traditional Transylvanian dances in bars, dance halls, and concert halls throughout North America. In 2010-2011 Jake was a Fulbright Scholar based in the Northeastern Romanian province of Moldavia, where he was surely the first foreigner to become a member of the famous folk orchestra "Rapsozii Botoşanilor," apprenticing himself to the orchestra’s director and master lautar violinist, Ciprian Potoroacă.


Working with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York, Jake founded the Tantshoyz (dance house) program. Modeled after the Hungarian táncház movement, the Tantshoyz works to revitalize the Yiddish dance tradition and the spontaneously synergetic connection between dancers and musicians. Tantshoyz has since been replicated in a number of cities in North America and Europe.


Jake has been a faculty member of the Henry Street Settlement, KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Klezmer Paris, the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, Yiddish Summer Weimar, Fiddle Tunes, and other festivals throughout the globe. He was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in the Folk/Traditional Arts catergory in 2018, and in 2023 began serving as a master teacher in the NYSCA Folk Arts Apprenticeship program. His debut solo CD, A Redele (A Wheel) (Oriente Musik, 2012) was nominated for the German Record Critics' Award. His new group, Midwood, released its first album, Out of the Narrows, (Chant Records) in May 2018. He played a lead role as himself in Csaba Bereczki's 2016 feature film Soul Exodus, and appeared on screen in HBO's Succession and Martin Scorcese's The Irishman.

In addition to his life as a performer and teacher of music, Jake is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner(CM).


Jake now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jake Shendl Copitman.jpg
Photo: Shendl Copitman
Photo: Helmut Oelke
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