Michael Winograd

Michael Winograd

He // Him // His

[ID: A photo taken from a low angle shows a man with clear-framed glasses playing the clarinet with eyes closed. The horn of the instrument extends beyond the frame.]

Portrait photo by Lloyd Wolf.

Brooklyn, NY
2024 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by Walder Foundation.

Michael Winograd is a clarinetist and composer from Brooklyn. Winograd specializes in Klezmer, Ashkenazi Jewish celebration music. He tours the world with his band The Honorable Mentshn, collaborates with Pakistani vocalist Zeb Bangash in the genre-bending group Sandaraa, is one third of Yiddishe Pirat, and performs with many of today’s leading voices in Jewish music. He was featured on Vulfpeck’s 2016 album The Beautiful Game and joined them for performances at Madison Square Garden in 2019 and at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2023.

Winograd’s world is split between the past and present. His sound, style and aesthetic are recognized for having deep, historical roots whilst also being contemporary and forward-thinking.  This is evident in his original music, which would fit as comfortably at Lower East Side wedding halls in the 1950s as it does at Brooklyn clubs in the 2020s. His interest in musical time travel has cultivated projects like TANZ LIVE, a recreation of the 1956 album with the same title that featured clarinetists Sam Musiker and Dave Tarras.

As a teenager, Winograd  immersed himself in old recordings and sought out to learn from veteran masters. His studies with Sid Beckerman, Howie Lees, and Peter Sokolow shaped him as a musician and showed him the importance of mentorship and education through cultural and musical transmission. In his ambition to continue the practice of passing along the tradition, Winograd co-founded the Yiddish New York festival in 2016 and was the Artistic Director of KlezKanada from 2017–2021.

“Early Bird Special,” 2023. Live at the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival. Museum of Engineering and Technology, Krakow Poland. Presented by the Jewish Culture Festival.