Ernie Gruner


Ernie fiddles around


Ernie still fiddling

 Current bands and theatre

- Melbourne Playback Theatre , Bohemian Nights, Bowlines, Klezmeritis, Saray Iluminado

OLD BIO..please ask for update by email

Ernie Gruner has a long history in Australia's acoustic, theatre and world music scenes. Current bands range  from the jazz and cabaret comedy of Jugularity, to the Jewish and Middle-Eastern sounds of Klezmeritis and Yalla!, to improvising music in Melbourne Playback Theatre Company.  He promotes Klezmer (Eastern European Jewish) music with his workshops and performances around Australia and beyond.

Other bands have included Greek and Sephardic influences (Melisma and Soleluna) and the Klezmer Trio, while Bohemian Nights and Flirting Mazurkas include jazz and latin as well as European and Eastern influences.

He has been a member of Dya Singh band (Sikh), Kalinka (European), Zingara (world/gypsy), Howlin’ Wind Band (world/rock) and accompanied Zulya Kamalova, Kavisha Mazzella, Bronwyn Calcutt, Gypsy Fire - Matthew Fagan, Texicali Rose (mariachi) Colin Reid, Brahim Benim (Moroccan), Afandi Siyo (Oromo/East African). As a classical musician Ernie led the Monash String Quartet for over ten years and was an orchestral violinist.

His theatre involvement and collaborations have included Playback Theatre, Cafe Scheherezade, Progress and Melancholy, Our Chalk Circle, Dante, Russian Soup , Emma Celebrazione, Blue Absinthe and cabaret with Jugularity and more.

Ernie is active as a violin teacher or more often as a fiddle teacher, introducing classical violinists to folk and improvised music styles. As a recording musician he has over 70 credits. He won the Port Fairy Tune Writing award with his wife Cathy Dowden for “Jered’s Jive” and plans to compose more - one day.

In 2010, Ernie was profiled in Seth Jordan’s book “World Music: Global Sounds in Australia”, published by UNSW Press. The book explores the story of Australian-based performers and other individuals who have significantly contributed to the development of Australia’s world music scene.

                                                         Ernie Gruner and Klezmer          Overseas Klezmer Trip summaries

    _____________________    Klezmer Workshops (selected)

2016 - Australian String Teacher's Association

2015 Cygnet Folk Festival - Klezmer & Nigun workshops



 Wellington Folk Festival

  Dunedin Fiddle Club

KLEZMER & JEWISH wordless singing WORKSHOPS : ERNIE GRUNER   / Western Australia      

 April 29th, Tuesday @ 6.30pm Singing, 8pm Klezmer . See  for details & bookings

Venue :  MOSARTS, 16 Lochee St, Mosman Park    

2013 Sunday December 8th

        Klezmer workshop by Knakl , 1 - 4pm Fairfield.

        More information and Bookings Essential  via


Tuesday March 26th

Workshop with London Klezmer Quartet & Ernie Gruner for instrumentalists and dancers,

7-9.45pm, in Coburg , bookings via trybooking site .....

2012   September 24th Monday 7.30 - 9.30pm  Northcote Uniting Church / Darebin Music Feast

           for Violins and C instruments only.  (unless my arm is bent)  $20 full / $15 conc

           Please email to register with instrument, experience, standard, contact details

           or call 0418549631 for more info.

2012  Community Music Victoria weekend Bendigo camp. Klezmer workshop YOUTUBE VIDEO (Vodka Nigun)


2012  April 17th Tuesday  Klezmer & Nigun workshops at KULCHA, Fremantle W.A., Evening. email for details

           Workshop information at Kulcha website

2012 April 2nd Monday  London Klezmer Quartet workshops in Northcote  

           Registration Form  sorry no more places - SOLD OUT

           with            Workshop Information & London Klezmer Quartet band & tour information

    2010  November 6th/7th    ZINGARO GYPSY/KLEZMER FESTIVAL Malmsbury

2010  Monday September 6 : Northcote Uniting Church Hall for Darebin Music Feast

More information and Registration

2010  Sunday August 22nd, BRISBANE, 2-4pm BEMAC

2009 September Mondays 7th & 14th, evenings,

Northcote Uniting Church Hall for Darebin Music Feast ,  click here for

More information and Registration due August 31st preferably or email me.

2 workshops each night.

1st on nigunnim, for singers and less experienced musoes, or those who want more...

2nd for more experienced musicians....


2009 Tuesday May 12th evening, , Northcote

This night will be different to usual format. Why will this night be different to all other nights ?

I'll just teach tunes from my time at KlezKanada 08, and maybe tell a few yarns.

Michael Alpert June 2008  Workshops

June 12th       1st tune audio w tuba tune  1st tune audio w tuba bass : 2' ish files

1st tune sheet - Belf 11  Nokh Havdole

      Sheet music via    Audio via Canon IXUS 80IS camera with sound recorder   ----thankyou Neil    Barr for spotting large files and sending compressed versions ! ouch

        June 12th    2nd tune audio   6' wav file with lots of repeats


    Lecture/Demonstrations   Click here for a list of where to find more Klezmer information

Previous Workshops and Lectures    

Ernie Gruner and Klezmer

Ernie Gruner is leader of Klezmeritis which plays for Jewish community weddings, barmitzvahs as well as concerts and festivals. Their CD was well reviewed around the world.

In 2008, Ernie travelled to KlezKanada, Alicia Svigals and Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto.

In 1998, Ernie returned from Klezmer studies in New York and Eastern Europe and maintains contact with overseas klezmer musicians. His studies included lessons from Alicia Svigals of the Klezmatics and participating in the Cracow Jewish Cultural Festival and the San Francisco KlezKamp.

In 1991, Ernie attended workshops by visiting New York klezmer musician and researcher Michael Alpert, and in 2008 organised 2 instrumental klezmer workshops for Michael .

Ernie is a member of Australia's longest running Klezmer band, The Klezmer Trio . He has played klezmer in bands Zingara and Klezmania. He formed Kalinka which performed klezmer and gypsy music at Melbourne and Australian festivals and. He worked with accordionist Leo Rosner for a live concert recording. Bohemian Nights duo includes klezmer repertoire, live and on CD.

He arranged/tutored klezmer for the 20 piece Monash University World Music ensemble at BMW Edge, and was music director for Kosher Culture's cabaret "Exile and Ecstasy" during Jewish Museum of Australia's festival.  He has led a klezmer orchestra (see pics) on stage and roving for the Kingfisher Festival at CERES several years in a row.

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Klezmer Workshops   - Ernie leads regular public workshops, and is available for schools and private lessons.

 Previously monthly at Northcote Uniting Church, CERES, Rechabite Hall, Jewish Museum etc

                                     See Klezmer workshop participants at CERES Kingfisher Festival  or pic below.



Come and learn about Klezmer (Jewish folk music) from fiddler Ernie Gruner, while learning to play tunes on whatever instrument you bring along. Ernie plays regularly in Melbourne for weddings, barmitvahs and other functions where Klezmer music is popular.

He has studied in Eastern Europe (where Klezmer originated) and New York (where it is most popular) and has recorded a CD with his band Klezmeritis.


  • Teach tunes to participants by ear, and sheet music if necessary.
  • Aim to have participants playing tunes together by end of sessions.
  • Depending on event/festival incorporate participants playing as part of a concert or parade.
  • Introduce participants to the style of Klezmer music - modes, ornaments, rhythms, arranging.
  • Discuss some history, geography and background to the tunes and contemporary functions.
  • Mention Klezmer trends around the world. Mention sources of recorded and written material.
  • Aim to inspire participants to learn more tunes and style, and keep the music alive.

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Turramurra Folk Music Camp 2005 - Photo by Adam Burke


Klezmer Lecture/Demonstration


Jewish Gypsy Music or Jewish Jazz?

What is Klezmer Music? What makes it different to other styles of music? Where does it come from and where is it going? Come and hear violinist Ernie Gruner discussing and playing live and (optional) taped samples. Lecture is based on what Ernie found out in New York and Eastern Europe recently and other research.


  • Discuss history, geography and social background to the music.Discuss what differentiates klezper music - forms, modes, ornaments, rhythms, arranging.Perform examples of above on violin to illustrate lecture. Play tape-recorded samples if possible.
  • Mention Klezmer trends and activity around the world.

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Previous Workshops & Lectures                       

      •  Australian String Teacher's Association  •  Monash University Conservatorium

  • Jewish Museum of Australia Boite Daylesford Singer's Festival,  Boite Winter Festival Kadimah, Kosher Culture - Jewish Cultural OrganisationsAustralian National Folk FestivalsNew Zealand (Wellingon Jewish community & Wellington & Whare Flat Folk fests)Woodford & Maleny Folk FestivalsCygnet and Victor Harbor Folk FestivalsPort Fairy Folk FestivalsWA : Kulcha, Fairbridge Festivals, West Australian Folk Arts Festival, Carmel School Turramurra Folk Music Camps , Rose's Gap Music CampFootscray Fiddle FrenzySuzuki Conference, Trinity College, Woodleigh School, Scotch College, PLC, Luther College, Yarra Valley Grammar Hawthorn and Kew FestivalsDeniliquin Music Camp ( South West Regional Conservatorium)
  • Monthly Public workshops midyear currently CERES, prev.Rechabite Hall, other venues

                                                                         Kingfisher Festival at CERES after walking    2007 KINGFISHER FESTIVAL MUSIC(Email me for rehearsals info. if you'd like to play )

Kingfisher Finale Song  C       Mazeltov & Leybedik in C       Fiselekh C   

Kingfisher Finale Song  Bb                                                    Fiselekh Bb

Kingfisher Finale Song  Eb                                                    Fiselekh Eb

                                              Kingfisher 2007 - more pics atKlezmer orchestra

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