Clara Byom is an Albuquerque-based multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, and accordion), musicologist, and educator. She performs contemporary classical music and a variety of folk dance music, including Jewish klezmer, contra, English Country, Balkan, Scottish, and Irish. Clara is a founding member of Di Kavene Kapelye, Edith Boulevard, Rusty Tap, The Parson Sisters, Odd Butterflies, drip project, and co-founder/co-director of New Mexico Contemporary Ensemble. Additionally, she performs regularly with Dust City Opera and serves on the board of the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. As of Fall 2018, she serves as the first Development Director of the newly founded non-profit organization, The Klezmer Institute.
A graduate of the University of New Mexico (Master of Music in Clarinet Performance and Musicology), Clara has researched mid-century American klezmer music for her master’s thesis entitled “Mixing in Too Much Jewish: American Klezmorim in New York City from 1950-1970.” She was a guest lecturer at KlezmerQuerque 2017, as well as College of Charleston (Spring 2017) and Eastern New Mexico University (Spring 2018), and has presented at conferences for the International Clarinet Association (Summer 2018), Society for Ethnomusicology (Spring 2017) and Yiddish Summer Weimar (Summer 2016). Since the Summer of 2014, she has done archival work for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City, primarily digitizing and cataloging the field recordings of 2015 National Heritage Fellow Michael Alpert, a leading figure in the klezmer revitalization. In 2012, Clara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA.
All photo credit on this page: Randi Thompson