The Global Search for Education: Internationally acclaimed clarinetist David Krakauer Shares the Journey of Der Heyser Bulgar With Bard Conservatory Orchestra

C. M. Rubin
3 min readFeb 5, 2024

This month, audiences can screen Der Heyser Bulgar With Bard Conservatory Orchestra on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Bard Conservatory.

Der Heyser Bulgar With Bard Conservatory Orchestra takes audiences on a mesmerizing journey. This beautiful composition was popular among Jewish immigrants in the 1920’s. The production features a spellbinding solo performance by David Krakauer. Krakauer, a Klezmer maestro and chamber music faculty member at renowned institutions, redefines concert artistry with his versatile clarinet mastery.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome David Krakauer.

David, welcome. Are there any special or fun details you can share about your preparation and performance of Der Heyser Bulgar? How intensive was it?

I had a blast working with the amazingly talented and enthusiastic students of the Bard Conservatory Orchestra. They were a sheer delight. The conductor, Melvin Chen (also a brilliant pianist), was the co-director of the Bard Conservatory at that time, and we had a lot of fun working together.

Did this specific piece of music bear any significance for you? Why did you choose to perform it?

Der Heyser Bulgar is a traditional piece from the Eastern European Jewish klezmer repertoire, and the version with the Bard Conservatory orchestra is my arrangement. The introduction for the unaccompanied clarinet Synagogue Wail is one of my signature compositions, utilizing extended techniques such as alternate fingerings, natural overtones, and circular breathing. Since the early 1990s, I have been one of the leading exponents of klezmer, expanding the art form over the last three decades by blending it with jazz, funk, hip-hop, and various sounds to create my unique clarinet language. I’ve joyfully collaborated with legendary artists like funk architect Fred Wesley, Canadian producer Socalled, the WDR Big Band, South African pianist Kathleen Tagg, and more.

Is there anything in particular you hope audiences will learn or take away from this unique production?

I believe this music is very visceral and direct; it speaks for itself. I’ve performed this piece globally, and audiences always love it.

What musical projects are you most excited about in 2024?

Kathleen Tagg and I recently co-composed ‘The Fretless Clarinet,’ our three-movement clarinet concerto, receiving numerous performances in the US, France, and Poland, which is incredibly exciting. I performed as a soloist with The Louisville Orchestra in a project focused on Jewish-African American dialogue. Alongside Kathleen, we’re involved in our duo project, ‘The Ties That Bind Us,’ and co-lead ‘Square Peg Throwdown.’ Our goal is to foster human connection and dialogue. In 2024, I’ve composed a solo piece for cellist Matt Haimovitz, set for recording in spring, and currently, I’m working on a piece for the Prism Saxophone Quartet.

Thank you David!

Find out more about David Krakauer’s work.

Photo Courtesy of GMD

C.M. Rubin with David

Don’t Miss Der Heyser Bulgar With Bard Conservatory Orchestra, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Bard Conservatory for the Planet Classroom Network.