David Breytman, a"h, 1948-2008
Years ago, awed by David Breytman's playing, I accused him of playing "speed klez." This past spring, with a new release by his band, Klezmania, Shmoozin', his playing had slowed. In response to my query, his bandmates let me know how sick he was. It was with no surprise, but deep sorrow, that notice of his passing arrived in August:
It is with heaviness of heart that I write of the passing of David Breytman.
A skilled bayan player, an honest and truly decent mentch, an ever-reliable member of our group, Klezmania, his smile, his playing and his very presence will be sorely missed.
Born in Odessa, David graduated from Music College where he studied to be a conductor, and performer of folk instruments. During compulsory military service he was a musician with the Red Army Choir. David became a teacher of music and later attended the Teacher's Institute where he trained as a secondary teacher. David learned traditional Moldavian, Rumanian and Yiddish melodies from his grandparents and from his extensive travels throughout Moldavia and the Southern Ukraine. He toured throughout the Ukraine and the USSR with the Odessa Instrument Orchestra as concertmeister. This ensemble won gold and silver medals for Best Folk Music Orchestra at ‘All Russia’ Competitions. He migrated to Australia in 1978 and became the musical director of the Sadko Balalaika Orchestra in 1980 which has toured Australia and the USA.
David joined Klezmania in 1993, and last played with us at our recent album launches in June.
Tributes flow for Klezmania member, Darren Levin, Australian Jewish News, Aug 26, 2008