Described by the Washington Post as “particularly impressive,” and “extraordinary” by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Steven Greenman is a multi-talented musical artist, who is equally adept at performing stunning solo violin works with symphony orchestras, soulful East European Jewish folk music (klezmer music) and passionate East European Romani (Gypsy) music. Steven’s virtuosic performing skills are complimented with his passion for composition and education.
Steven is recognized internationally as one of the finest practitioners, composers and teachers of traditional East European Jewish klezmer violin music in the world today. He has self-produced two landmark recordings documenting his original Jewish and klezmer compositions with Stempenyu’s Dream (2004) and Stempenyu’s Neshome (2010), the latter containing his original Jewish spiritual melodies. Several of Steven’s Jewish compositions have been recorded by international artists and researched by scholars while two of his liturgical melodies have been recognized and published by the Shalshelet Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music. With his recording Khevrisa: European Klezmer Music, Steven is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist.
Steven has performed internationally with several renowned klezmer ensembles including: the Klezmatics, Kapelye, the Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble, Khevrisa, Budowitz, the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band and Shtetl Band Amsterdam. He has been at the forefront of the klezmer revival establishing new ensembles including Khevrisa, Stempenyu’s Dream, Di Tsvey, the R2G Klezmer Trio, Cedar’s Jumpin’ and the Steven Greenman Klezmer Ensemble. Steven’s thrilling collaboration with master pipa-player Gao Hong, The Braided Candle, explores a unique blending of both traditional Jewish and Chinese folk music styles.
Steven’s international performances have included multiple appearances at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland; Ashkenaz – A Festival of New Yiddish Culture in Toronto, Canada; and Klezmer Festival Fuerth in Fuerth, Germany. In 2012 Steven participated in the Violins of Hope project at UNC Charlotte, performing traditional klezmer music with one of master violin luthier Amnon Weinstein’s restored “Holocaust” violins. Steven was a major participant with Cleveland Ohio’s Violins of Hope project in 2015 performing a klezmer music recital and leading a teacher workshop detailing Jewish history and culture through the auspices of the Cleveland Orchestra. He is featured as a klezmer music historian in the WVIZ/PBS Ideastream documentary Violins of Hope – Strings of the Holocaust.
Steven is in demand as a scholar-in-residence and teaching artist at international Yiddish folk arts festivals, universities and schools. He has taught klezmer violin and led master classes at KlezKanada, Living Traditions’ KlezKamp, Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany), Internationales Klezmer Festival Fuerth (Germany), KlezFest London, Klezmerquerque (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Master Class de Musica Tradicional Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Recent North American master class engagements have brought Steven to the University of Pittsburgh, Baylor University, the University of Virginia, Cornell University, Carleton College and Case Western Reserve University. As the first recipient of the Louis E. Emsheimer Memorial Artist in Residence Program in Cleveland, OH (2002) Steven led klezmer workshops for classical string players and lectured on klezmer music. Since 2001, Steven has been a “teaching artist” with the Cleveland Orchestra’s "Learning Through Music" program and has developed several children's programs combining storytelling and klezmer music. Steven has enriched the lives of Cleveland Ohio’s students by teaching klezmer music at B'nai Jeshurun Synagogue, Park Synagogue, The Temple-Tifereth Israel and the Western Reserve Suzuki School.
In addition to his involvement with klezmer music Steven is known for his passionate performances of East European Romani (Gypsy) music. He is an accomplished performer of urban East European violin styles, in particular, Magyar nota, Romanian lautari and Slovak folk music and has devoted his life to the study of East European violin style and ornamentation. A performer with the Harmonia ensemble, Steven's intense study of East European folk music has brought him into contact with professional folk musicians from the Balkans, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
As a classical concert performer, Steven has been a regular guest soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra performing his own arrangements of traditional East European Romani violin music in Cleveland's prestigious Severance Hall. Steven has also performed these showpieces as soloist with the Canton and Akron Symphony Orchestras. In 2013, Steven explored classical Chinese music and was the violin soloist for the Cleveland, Ohio premiere of the famous Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, performing with the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra. Steven has also performed this concerto with the Firelands Symphony (2015) and with the National Repertory Orchestra (in July 2016). A serious chamber musician, Steven performs with celebrated early music pianist/harpsichordist Byron Schenkman as The Greenman-Schenkman Duo; an ensemble dedicated to performing the Jewish art music repertoire of the early 20th century Jewish composers from the St Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music.
Steven received his Bachelor of Music (1989) and Master of Music (1991) degrees in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Linda Sharon Cerone, Dr. Eugene Gratovich, Alan Bodman and the late Bernhard Goldschmidt. His classical studies continued with Montreal’s late-renowned pedagogue Yaela Hertz. As an orchestral performer, Steven has performed with the Canton and Akron Symphony orchestras and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. He has participated in the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, the Ohio Light Opera and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.
Steven is lead performer, composer and producer of the recordings Stempenyu's Dream and Stempenyu’s Neshome. He is the featured performer and co-producer of Smithsonian Folkways’ first klezmer music recording, Khevrisa-European Klezmer Music. Steven has also recorded with Harmonia (Hidden Legacy), Budowitz (Mother Tongue), the Klezmatics (Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf!), violinist Alicia Svigals (Fidl), the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band (Fire), Rabbi Neil Blumofe (Piety and Desire), guitarist Jesse Cook (Free Fall), Yiddishe Cup (Klezmerized) and vocalists Heather Klein (Shifrele’s Portret), Lori-Cahan Simon (Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me, Vol. 1 – Passover; Vessel of Song – The Music of Mikhl Gelbart) and Ludmila Sorin (Yiddish, Ladino, Hebrew and Russian Songs). Steven's Jewish and klezmer compositions are also featured on various internationally released klezmer music compilation recordings.