NEW YORK -- Clarinetist German Goldenshteyn, a native of Eastern Europe who was considered a kind of Woody Guthrie of the klezmer revival in America, died June 10 of a heart attack, said friend and colleague Michael Alpert. He was 71.
Mr. Goldenshteyn was born in a shtetl called Otaci, then in Romania, now in Moldova. His first name, German, is the Russian version of Herman, pronounced with a hard ``g."
Mr. Goldenshteyn, who lived in Brooklyn, moved to the United States only 12 years ago, bringing along handwritten notebooks filled with nearly 1,000 klezmer tunes he transcribed over decades, many of them until now undocumented.
During World War II, when Romania was an ally of Germany, Mr. Goldenshteyn and his family were interned in a Romanian ghetto called Bershad.
His parents died there of starvation and disease, and he and his brothers sold cigarettes in the streets to survive, then were brought up in orphanages.
Mr. Goldenshteyn and a brother had musical talent that was noticed by the leader of a Soviet military band, who eased the way for them to attend a Romanian military academy, then a music school in Odessa, in Ukraine.
After serving in the Soviet army, while playing in Red Army bands, Mr. Goldenshteyn settled in Ukraine not far from his native Otaci, earning a living as a machinist while playing in a small band that performed at weddings, serenading guests from house to house.
His arrival in the United States in 1994 infused the American klezmer revival that began in the 1970s with concerts and workshops that he led.