Bivolita sually performs as a trio or Quartet, but has a
great roster of musicians to add for Simchas and Dance parties
Bivolița's exploration of European klezmer and traditional music from Moldova and
Bessarabia is informed by the diverse musical experiences of its members.
Christina Crowder, Accordion
Christina started playing Jewish music in Budapest, Hungary, where she lived from 1993 to 2002. She is a founding member of Di Naye Kapelye—an ensemble dedicated to researching and performing traditional eastern European Jewish music. The group did original research in Hungary and Romania and in the 8 years Christina performed with the ensemble, Di Naye Kapelye toured extensively in Europe and performed at numerous festivals including the Jewish Music Festival in Krakow, Poland, the Festival d'Ete in Nantes, France and many others.
From 1999 to 2001 Christina and her husband John DeMetrick pursued Fulbright grants in Romania, working with elderly violinists who had played music for Jewish communities before the Second World War. The pair made field recordings of those musicians and also pursued archival and library sources for Jewish material and an understanding of the local influences on Jewish musical styles. Christina continues this research with a project to document connections between Jewish, Bessarabian, and Greek music through NYU Abu Dhabi.
Christina currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut, where she works with local klezmer musicians and students. She also performs with the Alexander Fiterstein Trio, the Nu Haven Kapelye, the Wholesale Klezmer Band, The Seltzer Sisters (and the New Agony Trio), and the Dave Levitt Klezmer Trio. She has been a guest instructor in klezmer accordion and ensemble performance in Paris, Albuquerque, Duluth, and Asheville, and was accompanist and assistant instructor for the advanced dance workshop at Yiddish Summer Weimar in summer 2015.
Brian Slattery, Violin
Brian Slattery plays violin and banjo in as many styles as he can muster. In addition to Bivolița, as a member of Dr. Caterwaul's Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, a New Haven-based group, he plays music ranging from Eastern Europe to South America to Africa to the United States, including jazz, spirituals, and blues. With Harry Bolick, a master old-time fiddle player now based in Dutchess County, NY, he plays music from across the American South with a special focus on the music of Mississippi. With the Mystic Playboys, a CT-based dance band, he plays Cajun, zydeco, and honky-tonk. He has taught workshops in fiddle and banjo and hosts monthly jams centering on jazz and Appalachian fiddle music.
Gretchen Frazier, Viola
When she's not performing and teaching with Bivolița, Gretchen Frazier currently plays Assistant Principal Viola in Eastern Connecticut Symphony and Section Viola in New Haven Symphony. An avid music educator, she has been teaching Suzuki and traditional violin and viola since 1994. She currently teaches at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven as well as at her private studio at home in Westville, where she recently co-founded the Westville Youth Ensemble, an orchestra for musicians ages 6-12. Other projects include the classical guitar/flute/viola trio Apollinaire and the Sarah Lemieux Quintet, which won a 2014 Connecticut Music Award for Best Jazz Album.
Gretchen played Assistant Principal Viola in the former Savannah Symphony, where she made several appearances as a soloist. She also performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Charleston, the Hilton Head Orchestra, and the Fischbach Quartet, and participated in Opera Theater of Lucca, Piccolo Spoleto USA, and Des Moines Metro Opera. She has guest conducted the Beaufort County (SC) Junior String Festival, the Armstrong Youth Orchestra, and taught at the Green Mountain Suzuki Institute.
Gretchen holds degrees from the Crane School of Music and the Cincinnati Conservatory, where she studied with Sarah Hersh, Masao Kawasaki, and Catharine Carroll. Her Suzuki pedagogy teachers include Teri Einfeldt of the Hartt School, Kimberly Meier-Sims of the Cleveland Institute, and Ed Kreitman, author of Teaching from the Balance Point. Gretchen lives in New Haven, CT with her family.
Keryn Kleiman, Violin
Keryn Kleiman is a New York-based violinist specializing in Jewish and Eastern European folk styles. She is a member of a number of klezmer groups, including Kadya’s Project, Bivolita, and the New York Fidl Kepelye. Keryn graduated with a degree in ethnomusicology from Columbia University-Barnard College, where she was the student-leader of the Columbia Klezmer Band. While in college, Keryn was awarded a grant to research Jewish music and its relationship to co-territorial repertoires in Moldova. She has performed classical and folk music internationally at various music festivals and recently taught as a fellow at Klezkanada. Keryn spent five years studying with Vladimir Zyskind at Manhattan School of Music, where she was the Preparatory Division Concerto Competition Winner at 17 years old.
Jackie Sidle, Vocals
Jackie Sidle is an actress, singer, and cabaret artist. A member of Actors Equity Association, she has performed in Chicago, New York and New England. Locally she has worked with Long Wharf Theatre, Theatre 4, The River Rep, The Ivoryton Playhouse, and Seven Angels Theatre. She gets her klezmer on as one of the "Seltzer Sisters" performing with The Nu Haven Kapelye. She also performs the repertoire of Harriet Kane with the Dave Levitt Trio, and sings Yiddish and American favorites with Bivolița.
Charles Casimiro, Bass
Charles has forged a career as a professional bassist working in theater pits and concert halls throughout the tri-state area. He regularly performs alongside Broadway veteran Frank Mastrone, as well as with the Fairfield Counts—a 17-piece classic swing band that has been playing the “best of the Big Band music” for decades. He is an orchestra regular with community theater groups including the Bridgeport Theatre Company, Musicals at Richter, Theatreworks New Milford, and the Ridgefield Theatre Barn. Recent musicals include Dreamgirls, Shrek, Little Shop of Horros, The Wedding Singer, and Kiss Me Kate.