PhillyFolk Artists

Susan Hoffman Watts

Klezmer Trumpeter

Susan Watts represents the youngest generation of an important klezmer dynasty that reaches back to the Jewish Ukraine of the 19th century, beginning with her great-grandfather: bandleader, composer, and cornet-player, Joseph Hoffman. Hoffman’s handwritten music books contain his own arrangements of horas, Russian shers, polkas, mazurkas, Russian kamaratskies and kazatskies, a czardas, waltzes, freilachs, bulgars, and many other tunes named after the very Russian and Polish towns with which the music was associated. The Hoffman family played for generations of Philadelphia-area Jewish weddings and parties, and their music became part of a distinctly Philadelphia klezmer repertoire. Susan is the sole living purveyor of the family’s traditional klezmer-style trumpet sounds, which electrified Jewish American audiences for decades. In addition to playing with a variety of noted klezmer musicians from around the world, Watts has recorded and performed with Hankus Netsky, Mikveh and London’s Klezmer All-Star Brass Band.