Ran Blake: Adding Spice

Hankus Netsky and Ran Blake reflect on Ran's innovative approach to listening, teaching and performing. Produced by CI Faculty Aaron Hartley.


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About Hankus Netsky

A multi-instrumentalist, composer, and ethnomusicologist, Hankus Netsky is co-chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, an internationally renowned Yiddish music ensemble. He has composed extensively for film, theater, and television, collaborated closely with such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Robin Williams, Joel Grey, Theodore Bikel, and Robert Brustein, and produced numerous recordings, including 10 by the Klezmer Conservatory Band. He has also recorded with Ran Blake, Marty Ehrlich, Rosalie Gerut, Linda J. Chase, Theodore Bikel, Margot Leverett, and Cantor Jeff Warschauer. He received the Yosl Mlotek Award and a “Forward Fifty” award for his role in the resurgence of traditional Eastern European Jewish ethnic musical culture. He was also awarded a New England Conservatory Outstanding Alumni award, along with the school’s Louis Krasner and Lawrence Lesser awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Netsky is a sessional lecturer at McGill University and has taught at Hampshire College, Wesleyan University, and Hebrew College. His essays on Jewish music have been published by the University of California Press, the University of Pennsylvania Press, the University of Scranton Press, Hips Roads, Indiana University Press, and the University Press of America, and Temple University Press published his book Klezmer, Music and Community in 20th Century Jewish Philadelphia in 2015.  Dr. Netsky is on the faculty of Silk Road’s Global Musician Workshop and performs regularly with violinist and vocalist Eden MacAdam-Somer, gospel singer Janice “Octavia” Allen, cantor George Mordecai, and in former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s “PoemJazz” project. He served as vice president for education at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., and has been a key figure in Jewish cultural education workshops, including Klezkamp, KlezKanada, Paper Bridge, Yidstock, Aleph Ordination Week, Me’ah, and Circle Lodge.

Robin Kelley
Music Historian Robin Kelley interviews Ran Blake about his life and musical legacy. Produced by CI Faculty Aaron Hartley.
Ran Blake at piano
New England Conservatory’s Department of Contemporary Improvisation celebrates Chair Emeritus Ran Blake in his 85th year with a concert celebrating his work.