In loving Memory

Lisle Kulbach

April 4, 1948 – June 7, 2024

Dear Bloom Early Music Workshop,

We’re sorry to tell you that Lisle Kulbach, the founding instructor of our workshop, died Friday night, June 7th.

As some of you may know, she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. She never let that stop her from living life to the fullest, until the very end. She died peacefully under hospice care, with those she loved by her side.

Lisle grew up immersed in music. Her mother was a music teacher, and taught at the von Trapp family’s music camp in Vermont — Lisle grew up spending time there. There was almost nothing she couldn’t do. She studied piano and earned a degree in harpsichord. She could sing. She could play recorder and viol. She was a great percussionist, and she was a founding member of the Sephardic music group Voice of the Turtle, touring nationwide, and in Israel, Spain and England to boot. Susan once asked her if she could help her learn the harp; Lisle told her she’d learn by the next workshop so she could instruct.

But what we’ll remember most is her warmth and sometimes zany zest for life.

On the way to and from workshops, she would post the craziest photos of her journeys with the other instructors: feeding ice cream to the giant hippo at May’s Drive-in, or posing in one of those wooden cutouts so her head appeared on top of the body of a surfer at Rockaway Beach.

And those who were there will never forget the time she, Larry and Jody decided to form an impromptu parade into Dwayne’s garage for the first big Blow and Bow at one Bloom Early Music workshop. She marched in playing an early violin — yes, she could play those, too.

She didn’t balk at playing music in Dwayne’s garage, or at teaching a beginning student to read alto clef. She patiently talked musicians through complicated rhythms, and readily wrote letters of reference so students could get into other workshops.

When Dwayne was no longer able to host the workshop, Lisle didn’t hesitate even a moment before saying she would help keep it going, even though she was already fighting cancer. And she followed through, making a mid-year visit to check out the church that is now our home, attending countless online meetings, and taking on a full load of classes for the next two years.

She did it out of love – love for the music, love for the participants, and love for the community she helped create. You could feel it whenever you talked to her.

The closest we humans can come to immortality is to leave something behind that continues after we are gone. That can be a child, or a book, or a piece of music … or a workshop.

Bloom Early Music Workshop will happen this year. Lisle wanted it to thrive. We’ll send you registration information in the coming days. But for now, if you’d like to send a message of condolence to her family, you can reach them through her online memorial here.

– Larry and Susan