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Arkady Gendler: An Artistic Documentation's video poster

We will record & document Arkady Gendler's yet unpublished original Yiddish songs, and create new scores for his voice and ensemble. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on September 29, 2011.

We will record & document Arkady Gendler's yet unpublished original Yiddish songs, and create new scores for his voice and ensemble.

About this project


This is wonderful news. And please keep supporting us, if you can - we can use every extra dollar very, very well!

The entire team is working for free or for very modest to symbolic fees, the logistics are complex and costly, and there is so much more to do! We're dreaming of proper photo and video documentation, or just about feeding the gang in Vienna. Buy us a coffee, buy us a soup, help some luftmentsh translator or composer pay his rent, help some amazing young artists document a certainly unique project, grant us additional studio time to make it the best we can... or just keep telling us, how important these recordings are. 


Sincerely, Christian Dawid


recording, documenting & publishing the original work of a unique Yiddish voice  ·  an international culture project by Christian Dawid

Arkady Gendler (Zaporozhye, Ukraine) is one of the greatest living treasures of Yiddish song and language, cherished throughout the world for his profound teachings, his phenomenal repertoire and memory, his remarkable voice, fine sense of humour and gentle manner. 

Most of his precious original songs have not yet been recorded, some of them have never been performed in public. This project will create musical arrangements for all of Arkady's own work and some additional repertoire, new scores for a small chamber ensemble, that will allow to record Arkady in the refined, classical style that he loves, inspired by the music he listened to during his formative years.

The scores will be made available, for future study and performances of Mr Gendler's work.

Arkady Gendler was born in the town of Soroca (Bessarabia) in 1921, the tenth child in a family where everyone spoke and sang in Yiddish. Arkady lost his entire family and many of his friends in the Holocaust, but he never stopped singing. Later in his life, he started composing himself and wrote a number of songs of exceptional musical and poetic quality. Still leading an active life, he continues writing to this very day.

My name is Christian Dawid, I am a classically trained musician, a clarinetist, composer and arranger in Yiddish and classical music. I have been working with Arkady since our first meeting in St Petersburg, in 2003. I am the creator, fundraiser, producer, musical researcher and arranger of this vital project, helped by a wonderful, ever-growing international group of friends, scholars and artists who deeply care for Arkady Gendler and his work. *)

My first trip for this project brought me to L'viv, Ukraine, where Arkady performed in July. We made a selection of the songs he would love to record, including all of his originals. I am now working on the musical arrangements in Berlin.

Pianist Alan Bern and I will record with Arkady October 12-15th in Vienna, with an international group of musicians, shortly before his 90th birthday. 

The project involves 

  • careful research of the accurate stylistics 
  • choosing and documenting the musical repertoire
  • writing scores for voice, piano quartet and a few additional instruments
  • documentation, transcription and translation of Arkady's Yiddish lyrics
  • studio recordings and recording documentation
  • the creation of artwork/graphic design for the future CD and the extensive booklet

This project was created to honour a remarkable life, a wonderful person and outstanding artistic personality. Your contribution helps us make Arkady Gendler's work publicly available, by publishing a carefully produced CD and documentation!

All profits from commercial CD sales will go to Mr Gendler himself, or to a charitable cause of his choice, e.g the support of Yiddish language & culture in Zaporozhye.

Please feel free to support us beyond our goal! This amount covers only the very basic cost of the project. It includes travel, lodging and very modest fees for Yiddish documentation, translations, graphic work, editing and mixing, and the recording musicians (studio costs are already secured). It does not include any honorarium for Mr Gendler or myself, or fees that correspond to the actual work of the artists and scholars involved.

Please understand that, due to the international character of the project, and out of respect for Mr Gendler, we cannot offer house concerts, personal gifts, or promise signatures for your contribution! What we can offer is a little glimpse into Mr Gendler's world - through his favourite jokes and stories told in his own voice.

And be assured, that if you ever come to Zaporozhye, you will be more than welcome as a guest at Arkady's house, to share a glass of tea, a story and a song.

The following individuals are helping to make this project possible. It is only through the dedication of the people involved and through your support that this project is possible.

*)  Alan Bern (Berlin) · Paul Brody (Berlin) · Agnes Führlinger (Vienna) · Robert Gadek (Cracow) · Suzanna Ghergus (Kishinev) · Dina Gidon (St Petersburg) · Motl Gordon (St Petersburg) · Itzik Gottesman (New York) · Roman Grinberg (Vienna) · Merike Hilmar (Vienna) · Magdalena Hutter (Cologne) · Svetlana Kundish (Vienna) · Zhenya Lopatnik (Kharkiv) · Georg Luksch (Vienna) · Sasha Lurje (Riga) · Avia Moore (Montreal) · Pete Rushefsky (New York) · Ruth Schwarz (Vienna) · Lorin Sklamberg (New York) · Nandor Szederkenyi (Vienna) · Jeff Warschauer (New York) · Janina Wurbs (Berlin) · Yana Yanover (Kiev) · Sarah Zarrow (New York)


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    5 backers

    a digital track of a joke, told in Yiddish by Mr Gendler (including written English translation)

  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    6 backers

    digital tracks of two jokes and a story, told in Yiddish by Mr Gendler (including written English translation)

  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    20 backers

    the jokes, the story, and the digital version of the CD!

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    28 backers

    the jokes, the story, and a hard copy of the actual CD!

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    13 backers

    all of the above, plus digital tracks of an a capella song that is not on the CD, and two more jokes!

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    6 backers

    your name in the credits of the CD

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer

    listing as co-producer of the album in the liner notes

Funding period

- (60 days)