About the Kugels

Klezmer is the folk idiom of the Jewish people. A love of this music has  drawn the combined talents of these musicians – all prominent soloists in their own right – to form this exciting new ensemble – The Kugels.

The programme features the original Klezmer compositions of accordionist/NZ Arts Laureate Ross Harris, interspersed with music from the traditional repertoire. Not content to keep this music in dance halls and weddings, The Kugels bring these exciting and evocative songs to the stage, and have shared their passion and skill with audiences from the café to the concert hall.

The ensemble features the highly expressive sound of violin, clarinet, accordion and bass, laced with the multi talented reeds of Debbie Rawson on soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the Maui Xaphoon.A wide palette of sound is produced by these versatile musicians, and their concerts are presented with a commentary which is informative, entertaining, and engaging. Immensely versatile, this group has great potential for touring to both large and small venues, and to play to a variety of audiences.

Klezmer Music appeals to both young and old, and has huge appeal to music lovers and music societies everywhere.

Robin Perks – violin:

 Robin played in various orchestras in Europe in his 20s, and was a member of the NZ Symphony Orchestra for 37 years. He has performed klezmer in Wellington for about 15 years, culminating in his membership of ‘The Kugels’, which has become a perfect vehicle for his passion for the genre.

Debbie Rawson – clarinet, saxophone, xaphoon: 

Debbie is a clarinetist, saxophonist and photographer who has played in all major orchestras in New Zealand and founded the saxophone group ‘Saxcess’. She is Head of Woodwind at the New Zealand School of Music, Wellington.)

Ross Harris – accordion: 

Ross is a composer who has written many works including operas, symphony orchestras, songs and chamber music. He took up the accordion and started writing klezmer music in his 60s.

Jacqueline Norden – bass:

Jacqueline has played a range of instruments and styles ranging through Irish, jazz, pop and classical. She joined ‘The Kugels’ playing double bass in 2014, plays in the Wellington Chamber Orchestra and teaches at Mana College, Porirua.