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Jazzy Hanukkah Concert at Spertus

Jazzy Hanukkah Concert at Spertus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 31, 2013

For more information contact:   

Brian Zimmerman | 312.322.1724
Betsy Gomberg | 312.322.1756 



At Spertus Institute, jazz and Jewish music come together 
on December 5 for second annual Hanukkah Jam  

(Chicago) When jazz harmonica master Howard Levy previously took the stage with acclaimed tenor Alberto Mizrahi at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, the result was a delightful musical hybrid. Those in the filled-to-capacity audience heard two of Chicago’s leading musicians blend their distinctive styles, creating a harmoneous new genre of Hanukkah music. In a review of the concert, Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich wrote: “one can hardly imagine a jazzier way to say Happy Hanukkah.” 

In what could be the beginning of a new holiday tradition, Spertus Institute once again brings Levy and Mizrahi together for Hanukkah, this time joined by jazz ensemble, Trio Globo, in which Levy performs with musicians Eugene Friesen and Glen Velez. 

The concert — titled Matzah to Menorah: A Holiday Jazz Celebrationtakes place on Thursday, December 5 (the eighth and final night of Hanukkah) at 7 pm at Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Tickets are $35, $25, or $15. All seats are reserved. Following the program, CDs will be for sale and the musicians will be available to sign them. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 312.322.1773. 

Based on their previous performance, guests can expect to hear Levy, a Grammy-Award winning recording artist, amaze on harmonica and piano, while Mizrahi applies his majestic voice to melodies from the Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jewish traditions as well as to a range of unexpected treats. At their initial collaboration, audience members were treated to jazz renditions of holiday classics like “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,” the Ladino holiday tune “Eight Candles,” and the American folk song “This Little Light of Mine.” The duo also performed a host of original material, like the impromptu composition “Hanukkah Jam” and Levy’s “Darkness.” 

Howard Levy is a master of the harmonica, as well as an innovative pianist, composer, bandleader, and teacher whose musical travels have taken him across the world. Equally at home in jazz, classical, folk, Latin, world music, and rock, he brings a fresh approach to whatever he plays. He has performed and recorded with a “who’s who” of artists, including Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Steve Goodman, Dolly Parton, Paquito D'Rivera, and his longtime collaborators Béla Fleck & The Flecktones.

Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi is one of the world's leading interpreters of Jewish music, currently in his 23rd year as hazzan (cantor) with Chicago's Anshe Emet Synagogue. A performer of both classical and Jewish music, he has appeared and recorded with orchestras throughout the U.S., Europe, and Israel. He has performed and recorded with musicians ranging from legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck to the great Theodore Bikel and has performed for two U.S. Presidents, George W. Bush at the White House Hanukkah celebration, and Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol Days of Remembrance. 

Eugene Friesen, a graduate of Yale School of Music, is active internationally as a performer, composer, conductor, and teacher.

Glen Velez, a four-time Grammy winner, is known as the founding father of the modern Frame Drum movement and regarded as an influential figure by musicians and audiences worldwide.

Discount parking for the December 5 concert is available for $10 with Spertus validation at the Essex Inn, 8th Street and Michigan Avenue (2 blocks south of Spertus).

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Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs — including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts — take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online. For more information, please visit


Trio Globo with Alberto Mizrahi(from left) Eugene Frieson, Glen Velez, Howard Levy, and Alberto Mizrahi

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Howard LevyHoward Levy

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