Film Creators

David Kaufman

Producer, director, writer, editor, mixer

David Kaufman, a native of Montreal and resident of Toronto, is the leading Canadian documentary filmmaker creating films on Jewish themes. His first film, A. M. Klein: The Poet as Landscape, a biography and celebration of the esteemed Canadian Anglo-Jewish writer, was broadcast by the CBC in 1980. Subsequently he worked as a documentary director for two of CBC TV’s leading programs, The Journal and The Fifth Estate. Since 1999 he has worked independently, producing and directing films which have appeared on the C.B.C., the History channel, Bravo!, and PBS. In addition to Song of the Lodz Ghetto, he has directed and written two other films about the Holocaust, one about Kristallnacht and another film, From Despair to Defiance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the definitive film on the subject in English, which were broadcast on the History channel. He also produced and directed The New Klezmorim: Voices Inside the Revival of Yiddish Music, a music film which explores the Klezmer revival.

David also has a career as a photographer, specializing in large-format architectural images. Recent exhibitions include Makom: Seeking Sacred Space (with David Cowles), photos of historic synagogues in Montreal, Toronto: A City Becoming, photos of historic Toronto buildings, and Recurrent Memories (with Robert Burley and Wieslaw Michalak) which featured his photos of historic Jewish Lodz, including its Jewish cemetery, the largest in Europe.

Brave Old World

Musicians, performers and composers

ALAN BERN (piano, accordion), is the musical director of Brave Old World and one of the most influential figures in the world of Jewish music through his activities as composer, performer, and educator. He has performed and recorded with the Klezmer Conservatory Band, the Klezmatics, Andy Statman, Shirim, Kapelye, Itzhak Perlman, Seymour Rexite, the Symrna Trio, Paris-to-Kyiv, Guy Klucevsek, and many others. Bern is program director of the Yiddish summer program in Weimar, and teaches regularly at KlezKanada in Montreal, KlezFest in London, and elsewhere. His compositions have received awards in the USA, Europe and Israel. In 2006, he earned a doctorate degree in Music Composition at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. A native of Bloomington, Indiana, he lived for many years in Boston and Brooklyn and has been based in Berlin since 1987.

MICHAEL ALPERT (voice, violin, guitar, percussion) has been a pioneering figure in the current renaissance of East European Jewish klezmer music for 25 years, and is internationally known for his performances and recordings with Brave Old World, Khevrisa, Kapelye, and David Krakauer. Raised in a Yiddish-speaking family, he is considered the finest traditional Yiddish singer of his generation, and is noted for his original Yiddish songs on contemporary themes. Alpert was musical director of the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) Great Performances special “Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler’s House” (1996 Emmy and Rose d’Or Awards) and its subsequent concert tours, and executive producer of the resulting CDs. Alpert is active as a scholar, producer and educator in the Jewish ethnomusicology and cultural history fields, and is the leading contemporary researcher and teacher of East European Jewish traditional dance. He has taught and lectured at Oxford University, Columbia University, Yale University and the New England Conservatory of Music.

KURT BJORLING (clarinet, bass clarinet) is one of the handful of clarinet virtuosi to have emerged in the Klezmer revival and is highly influential as a researcher and teacher. In addition to his work in Brave Old World, he has been musical director of the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble since 1984 and he has also toured and recorded with the Klezmatics (New York) and Itzhak Pearlman.

He has composed pieces for orchestra and soloists: “Suite of Yiddish Music,” in 1991 for the Concordia Chamber Symphony at New York’s Lincoln Center, “Concertino on Klezmer Music Themes” for the Huntington Symphony with members of the Cincinnati Klezmer Project and “Barditshever Fantaziye” for clarinet and chamber orchestra, premiered by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta in 2003.

Bjorling has taught and performed at the annual Yiddish Folk Arts Program sponsored by YIVO and Living Traditions, at the Multicultural Folk Arts Center’s klezmer music camp at Buffalo Gap, West Virginia, and at numerous festivals and workshops in Cracow, Berlin, Toronto, Weimar, London, and Montreal.

STUART BROTMAN (bass, cymbalom) has been an accomplished performer, arranger and recording artist in the ethnic music field for over 35 years. He holds a B.A. in music from the University of California at Los Angeles, and has taught at KlezKamp, Buffalo on the Roof, the Balkan Music and Dance Workshops and KlezKanada and has been a member of Brave Old World since 1989. In the pop music world he has toured and recorded with Canned Heat, Kaleidoscope, Geoff and Maria Muldaur and played cimbalom with Ry Cooder at Carnegie Hall.

Stuart appeared in the Los Angeles production of Ghetto, the San Francisco production of Shlemiel the First, and performs frequently in ethnic music specialty roles for TV and film. A founding member of Los Angeles’ Ellis Island Band, he has been a moving force in the Klezmer revival since its beginning. He produced The Klezmorim’s Grammy nominated album, Metropolis and has performed with The Klezmorim, Kapelye, Andy Statman, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Davka, The San Francisco Klezmer Experience, Khevrisa, Itzhak Perlman and Varetski Pass. Stuart lives in Berkeley, California.

Robert Holmes


Colin Allison


Colin Allison, an award winning cinematographer, is a native of New Zealand who studied photography and television production in Australia before moving to Toronto. His career has taken him to more than sixty countries while working for leading documentary and current affairs programs including CBC’s The Fifth Estate, PBS’ Frontline, ABC’s 20/20, and CBS’ 60 Minutes. He has worked with some of the most illustrious documentary filmmakers in Canada, including Academy-award winning directors John Zaritsky and Brigitte Berman. Colin has been nominated for five Gemini awards and has been awarded two, in addition to four Kodak Spectrum awards. He lives in the Beaches area of Toronto and has custody of Sophie – a dog of Newfoundland-Border collie mixture and a good disposition (not unlike her master).

Danny Greenspoon

Music recording

Danny Greenspoon has had a stellar career in the Canadian music industry as a producer, recording engineer, musician and film composer. As a producer, he has made more than fifty albums, working with Canadian stars such as Great Big Sea, Spirit of the West, Ian Tyson, and Sophie Milman, and winning four JUNO awards and six ECMAs. As president and chief engineer of his own mobile recording studio, he has recorded some of the biggest acts in the world for television, radio, and record. He was awarded the 2007 Gemini Award for Best Sound in a Variety Program for The Gospel Challenge, and was nominated four years running in the same category.

In television Danny has been music producer and audio consultant on numerous large-scale award shows and live presentations, and in radio he has produced hundreds of programs for the CBC. As a guitarist Danny has performed with some of the biggest names in the country, including long stints with Murray McLauchlan, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and Sylvia Tyson and The Great Speckled Bird. As a film composer, Danny has written the music for several documentaries and short dramatic films and received the 1991 Gemini Award for Best Original Music Score for the documentary My Grandparents Had A Hotel.