Musician Bios

Who plays in the Austin Klezmorim?

Austin Klezmorim Bios
A mix of cultures and styles fused with tradition


Bill Averbach - Trumpet, Vocal, Leader - Philadelphia, PA

Bill Averbach is a seasoned musician with over 35 years of professional music experience. He has performed worldwide and recorded with many well known artists not just in the jazz genre, but world-beat, classical, folk, country, rock, and blues genres. He has worked with many well known songwriters and taken an active role in the development of many emerging new artists as an arranger, producer, and musical director.
Originally hailing from Philadelphia and a graduate of Bard College in the mid-70's Averbach moved to Texas and spent 20 years in Austin during the time period that led the City to be recognized as the “Live Music Capitol” and was recognized to be a force that would play a role in shaping the City’s musical identity.
As a composer Bill has produced and composed music for soundtracks, orchestras, Jazz bands, popular music groups, and his music can be heard throughout the world. His most recently completed works include a ballet for orchestra and chorus entitled The Awakening, three cajun songs, several jazz pieces for quartet, and he is currently working on a commissioned suite of six klezmer pieces for symphonic band and soloists.


Alex Coke - Reeds and Flute - Dallas, Texas

One of the original members of the Austin Klezmorim, Alex studied music performance at the University Of Colorado Since the mid-1970’s Alex has been an important force in the development of improvised music in Austin. As a Jazz advocate Coke has performed and recorded with some of the finest musicians in the US and Europe where he toured and recorded with the internationally renown Willem Breuker Kollektif. He has recorded with artists in many different genres and produced many cutting edge and award-winning recordings of his own music over the past 30 years. His eclectic attitude has led him to explore everything from Huddie Ledbetter to Eric Dolphy to Music from India. He has earned numerous awards for his performance abilities and is well-known as a major Texas talent.


Russell Scanlon - Guitar, Banjo, Cavaquinho - New York, NY

BA and Masters degrees from North Texas State
Russell Professor of Commercial Music Management at Austin Community College. Russell is one of the finest guitarists in the Austin area. His understanding and abilities as a performer and improviser make him one of the most sought-after musicians around.
He is a seasoned veteran in the studio, on stage, and in from of a camera and his performances can be heard on many of the top music recordings from the Austin music industry. As the leader of Tamasha Africana he has proven himself to be a musician’s musician.

Larry Eisenberg - Bass - Brooklyn, N.Y.

Larry began classical violin studies at the age of eight. While in high school, he was fortunate to study music theory with Ralph Wilkinson, a former arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Larry started playing electric bass and in 1978 moved to Austin where he began playing the double bass with many local Austin musicians. He has performed and worked as the musical director with many of the touring popular bands and his bass can be heard on some of the best Austin recordings of the past three decades.


David Levy - Drums and Percussion - Brooklyn, N.Y.

David has had a colorful and varied history as an artist. He has worked as a photographer, comedian, musician, and chef. His is a master of percussion and is very popular at dinners due to his abilities to play kitchen and dining utensils. He has worked and recorded with many contemporary swing and popular music artists and has helped shape the Austin music scene for the past 18 years.


Ernie Durawa - Drums and Percussion - San Antonio, TX

Ernie began playing drums at the age of 10 in San Antonio. Upon discovering jazz by the end of his high school days he was inspired to study become a working jazz musician. By the late 1960's he had performed with John Lee Hooker, George Gobel, Myron Cohen, and Gatemouth Brown, among others who were on their way to becoming internationally known artists. in the mid-70's he moved to Chicago and studying formally as he continued to play with some of Chicago's best jazz musicians. In the 1975 Ernie moved to Austin and spent several years touring with Texas R&B artist, Delbert McClinton and later he teamed up with the Sir Douglas Quintet which has led to inclusion in the Grammy Award winning Texas Tornados.
Often described as a versatile, no-nonsense, rock-steady drummer, Durawa currently leads his own group and works as one of the key components in the Austin Klezmorim.


David Perales - Violin - San Antonio, Texas

David is a highly schooled virtuoso who is one of the most sought-after violinists in Texas. His experience extends from symphonic music to popular music to his cultural folk traditions. He has recorded with many of the most popular artists and songwriters of the past 20 years and, as a composer his music has been used in many film soundtracks in addition to his own personal productions.


Auxiliary Members:

The Austin Klezmorim, as a musical ensemble has taken many shapes from a large, eighteen piece concert group down to a four piece wedding band. There have been over one hundred different members over the past 30 plus years who have worked with the group. Each has contributed to the character of the current configuration and will always play a role in the music. Below is a list of current auxiliary members who have performed and recorded recently with the group.

Howard Kalish – Violin
Danny Levin – Violin
Mike Maddux – Accordion
Jay Rozen – Tuba
Mark Rubenstein – Piano and Accordion
Bart Madeley – Guitar
Steve Schwelling – Drums and Percussion
Randy Zimmerman – Trombone
Susanna Sharpe – Vocall
Donna Mittenthal - Vocal
Suzi Stern - Vocal


You can't go wrong with the best in Texas Klezmer.
Now let us strut that kosher barbeque for you...



BA Music/Austin Klezmorim    






There are several programs available; Dance Concert, Lecture/Demonstrations, Workshops, and Klezmer for Kids

The Musical Genre - What is Klezmer?

The History of Klezmer - Where did Klezmer begin and where is it now? How did the music change as a result of influences from technology, politics, communication?

The Band - Who are the Austin Klezmorim?

Sound Files - Samples of music - mp3 files
The Musicians - Biographies of the core members
Contact Us - If you want more information or you would like to book the Austin Klezmorim we encourage you to email us.

Bill Averbach