Cantor Roytman’s “love affair” with Klezmer and Yiddish music began in Petrozavodsk, Russia in 1991 when together with violinist Boris (Berl) Portnoy he co-founded The Klezmer Shpil Orchestra, a primer ensemble of Yiddish and Klezmer Music.
Starting in 1992 the Klezmer Shpil Orchestra concertized extensively in Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway. In 1994 the original Klezmer Shpil Orchestra ceased to exist due to both Cantor Roytman’s and Berl Portnoy’s subsequent immigrations to the US and Israel.
In the US, Cantor Roytman continued to perform in Yiddish with a number of local Yiddish/Klezmer ensembles. He made numerous appearances with Chicago’s own Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and also with Tumbalalaika Band and the Kaufman Orchestra.
In 1996, Cantor Roytman traveled to Israeli where he appeared on stage accompanied by the newly created, Israeli -based, Klezmer Shpil at the famous annual Klezmer Music Festival in Safed. Cantor Roytman’s collaboration with Klezmer Shpil continued for another several years and culminated in 2008 with the release of Zing Main Hartz, a CD featuring him as a soloist.
Cantor Roytman’s American Yiddish/Klezmer CD recordings include Oy Balagan!, featuring Cantor Roytman, Lisa Fishman and the Kaufman Orchestra. Currently in the works is a recording of Cantor Roytman’s Yiddish and original songs with Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and Corky Seigal’s Chamber Blues ensemble.
In addition to Klezmer and Yiddish music, Cantor Roytman has successfully embraced contemporary music, folk, gospel and blues. He has collaborated with musicians of many genres and styles across the music spectrum.
Together with Tumbalaika Klezmer Band Cantor Roytman created and was featured in the concert series “From Odessa to Stalingrad: The Songs of the Jewish Gangsters.”
Cantor Roytman is a featured soloist in “The Whole Megillah-A History of Yiddish Theater”, a multi-media presentation created by Charles Troy and The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band.