Andreas Schmitges holds a diploma in jazz guitar from the HfMT Cologne, and is today a professional klezmer musician specializing in guitar and mandolin, a dance leader, author and Yiddish activist. He leads workshops on the subject of Yiddish musical culture and Yiddish theatre. In 2011, he collaborated with New York director Jenny Romaine to produce the Yiddish purimshpil “Megille Reloaded” (Di Megile fun Itzik Manger) for Jewish Culture Days North-Rhine Westphalia 2011. He is currently planning a youth workshop on Yiddish music for the Klezmerwelten festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany (October 2012). He speaks fluent Yiddish and, as an artist, is primarily interested in the interplay between Yiddish language, music and dance, as well as their similarities to those of other cultures.
Andreas tours regularly with his ensembles A Tickle In The Heart and Klezmer Alliance and teaches Yiddish dance as well as guitar and mandolin at festivals and workshops, including KlezKamp (New York), KlezFest (London), Klezmer Paris, Klezmer Festival Stockholm and many others. He has had the honor of sharing the stage with such international stars of the klezmer scene as Deborah Strauss, Shura Lipovski, the late Pesakh Fiszman, Frank London and Efim Chorny.
In his role as Program Assistant for Yiddish Summer Weimar, Schmitges has researched parallels between western European and Yiddish folk music and dance. In doing so, he stumbled upon an astounding wealth of common folk song sources, which he will present at the Advanced Song Workshop, among others. As coordinator and instructor of the Dance for everyone workshop, he is especially glad to unite the dances of the Renaissance and Playford traditions with Yiddish folk dance for the first time, thus bringing to light one of the origins of Yiddish folk dance. He has also discovered a fascinating repertoire of children’s songs—in some cases with German parallels—that he will put into practice together with Diana Matut in the Children’s Songs workshop.