Profile - Joshua Horowitz


Photo of Joshua Horowitz
Photo of Joshua Horowitz supplied by and used with permission of the artist
 Artist: Joshua Horowitz
 Born: 196?
 Group Members:  
 Genre/s: World | Jewish | Trad.
 Sub-Genre/s: Klezmer, Yiddish
 Instrument/s: tsimbl (aka cimbalom, cymbalom), 19th century chromatic button accordion
 Date Info First Pub'd: 2003/03/10
   Based: Berkeley, Ca., USA
   Contact: email
   Web Site:

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Following studies in composition and piano with Hugo Norden, Hermann Markus Pressl and Alain Naudé, Joshua Horowitz gained his Masters degree in Composition and Musicology from the Academy of Music in Graz, Austria. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and grants for composition and musicological research in North and South America, Europe and Israel, and is the author of a number of musicological/ethnomusicological papers, including ongoing musicological publications on the counterpoint of J.S. Bach. Other publications include The Judeo-Spanish Songbook (Peters Pub.) and The Ultimate Klezmer (Tara Publications). Horowitz is also lecturer and director of the Klezmer Music Research Project in Graz, Austria, and has also recorded with The Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

In addition to being an outstanding scholar, Joshua Horowitz is also an exceptional instrumentalist, regarded as the leading exponent of the Jewish tsimbl (aka cimbalom or cymbalom, a type of hammered dulcimer) as well as the 19th century chromatic button accordion. He is, moreover, a leading authority on and practitioner of 19th century and early 20th century authentic period performance style of traditional klezmer music, often referred to as Jewish Early Music. Horowitz combines impeccable mastery of his instruments and supreme musicianship with utmost sensitivity and is without doubt one of the truly great musicians of our age, irrespective of genre.

As a performer, Joshua Horowitz teamed up with clarinetist Joel Rubin in Berlin in 1992, performing and recording as the duo Rubin & Horowitz. They recorded the album Bessarabian Symphony, a landmark in the modern recording history of klezmer music, or more precisely, of authentic period performance klezmer, but split up shortly before its release in 1994.

That same year, Horowitz was visited in Graz by Steve Greenman and Walt Mahovlich. Greenman and Mahovlich had been performing as the duo Harmonia in Cleveland, Ohio, and the threesome hit it off and worked together as the Budowitzer Kapelye, the name being derived from the maker of Horowitz's accordion, Karl Budowitz, creator of the first chromatic button accordion (Horowitz plays the 1889 model). After Greenman and Mahovlich's return to the US, Horowitz formed a duo with violinist Lothar Laesser, and they soon rehearsed with cellist Walter Pogantsch. Now a trio, they received an invitation to play at Toronto's first Ashkenaz Festival, and there teamed up again with Greenman and Mahovlich to form the first proper incarnation of Budowitz. In 1996, the group was signed by the Koch International label, but two weeks before recording was scheduled to start for the album Mother Tongue (released in 1997), cellist Walter Pogantsch left and was replaced by Hungarian cellist Geza Penzes.

After several tours as well as a number of radio and TV appearances, Budowitz split up in 1997. Joshua Horowitz continued under the name Budowitz with a couple of temporary groupings, before teaming up with three other Hungarian musicians - cellist Zsolt Kuertoesi, first violinist Tamas Gambai, and second violinist/viola player Sandor D. Toth -, and British clarinetist Merlin Shepperd. This line-up, constituting the second proper incarnation of Budowitz, recorded the album Wedding Without a Bride, released in 2000. This album was another milestone in klezmer recording, for the first time presenting all the essential music that would have been performed on the main wedding day of a traditional Eastern European Jewish wedding, with all the pieces performed in their traditional order and in authentic period performance style. Shepperd left Budowitz at the end of 2000 and was replaced by German clarinetist Christian Dawid in December that year.

Joshua Horowitz's most recent recording credit is on Adrianne Greenbaum's 2002 album, FleytMuzik - yet another landmark recording of authentic 19th and early 20th century period performance klezmer, restoring the flute, as principal lead throughout, to the prominence it enjoyed in European klezmer in that period.

Among Horowitz's compositions is the score for the Czech film, Pevny Bod. Apart from his work with Rubin & Horowitz and Budowitz, Joshua Horowitz has also performed with the klezmer band Brave Old World and Alicia Svigals, among others.

Joshua Horowitz is also recording with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra for the Milken Archive CD recording project, Jewish Classical Music Traditions in America, a multi-CD set.

© 2003 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore

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Album Cover - Bessarabian Symphony
  Bessarabian Symphony

Album Cover - Mother Tongue
 Mother Tongue
 Album Cover - Wedding Without a Bride
  Wedding Without A Bride



1994 Bessarabian Symphony (with Joel Rubin, as Rubin & Horowitz) (Wergo)

1997 Mother Tongue (with Budowitz) (Koch International)

2000 Wedding Without a Bride (with Budowitz) (Buda Musique)




Appears on

1995 Doyres (compilation) (Trikont)

1996 Burgenländischer Advent II (Josh Horowitz with Lothar Lässer) (compilation) (ORF, Burgenland)

1996 Rudolstadt Tanz & Folk Fest ’96 (Josh Horowitz with the Magic Dulcimers) (compilation) (Heideck)

1997 Fidl (with Alicia Svigals) (Traditional Crossroads)

2002 FleytMuzik (with Adrianne Greenbaum) (Pvt. Rel.)

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Other Info

See also profile of Budowitz



Purchasing Info:

Joshua Horowitz's recordings can be purchased:
Direct from Budowitz

From Jewish Music Distribution JMD UK

From Hatikvah Music International (US)

And probably better CD stores and online sources such as Amazon etc.

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