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Adrienne Cooper

Adrienne Cooper played a critical role in the revival of Yiddish music as founder of the Yiddish Folk Arts Program (KlezKamp), a group that brought together musicians, linguists, and anthropologists to recover the tradition of Klezmer. Cooper came from a musical family, with a mother who performed opera, a cantor grandfather, and a grandmother who made wax discs of Yiddish folk songs. She earned a BA from Hebrew University and did graduate studies in history at the University of Chicago. Over the years, she served as assistant director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Studies and program director of the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and an executive officer of programming and external affairs for the Workmen’s Circle. Her talents for revitalizing lost traditions and engaging the public were instrumental in her creation of KlezKamp in 1985.  But beyond her leadership skills, Cooper was also a talented composer and performer, singing long-lost Yiddish folk songs and crafting new works such as a piece to honor Gluckel of Hameln, an 18th-century Jewish woman writer and entrepreneur. She performed at Carnegie Hall and the Holocaust Museum and was honored with KlezKanada’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Yiddish Arts and Culture.

Adrienne Cooper at KlezKanada, August 19, 2008
Full image

Adrienne Cooper, accompanied by pianist Marilyn Lerner, performing a selection from "Every Mother's Son: Jewish Songs of War and Peacemaking" at KlezKanada 2008's Tuesday night staff concert, held August 19, 2008 at Lantier, Quebec, Canada.

Photo: Alan Lankin, via

Used by permission.

Date of Birth
September 1, 1946
Place of Birth
Oakland, California
Date of Death
December 25, 2011

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Adrienne Cooper." (Viewed on February 18, 2019) <>.


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