Born on the Lower East Side of New York and raised in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Earned a doctorate in Jewish history and lectured at universities in US & Israel. At the same time Bernie played in various Hassidic bands. Bernie came to Israel in 1975.
In the end, he left the academic world in favor of the world of Hassidic music. While performing at weddings, he perfected the Klezmer style & in 1987 he founded the Israel Klezmer Ensemble. In 1992, he won the first prize at the Safed Klezmer Festival. They performed all over Israel.
Bernie and his ensemble perform every year at the Klezmer Festival in Safed.
Cantor Sam Weiss, frequent Klezcamp lecturer and klezmer critic, wrote :
I found Sounds of Safed most enjoyable and was struck by how different it is from the U.S. klezmer fare. It has a definite Israeli flavor; by this I mean that it avoids anything that suggests "nouveau klezmer" while the traditional numbers have a markedly "arranged" quality, as opposed to an "intimate" or even "ethnic" quality that some of the U.S. bands strive for. I for one happen to appreciate this kind of recording very much. Bernie's clarinet playing on the first selection, by the way, stands out as being very "real" stylistically, i.e. not revivalist old-timey nor "cool", just plain "geshmak". Its chassidic overtones suggest what such playing would have sounded like universally today if it had been allowed to develop naturally, rather than "revived".
Rabbi Dr. Pessah Shindler, Congregation Moreshet Israel, Jerusalem wrote on 9 March 1987 :
Dov (Bernie) Marinbach is the chief soloist of the Israel Police Band which he joined in 1980. There he performs much of the Freilach, Klezmer and Hassidic style music which are his specialties.
Inevitably, Dov (Bernie) sought out those musicians who share his love for Klezmer style music. These virtuoso performers...formed the Israel Klezmer Ensemble, perhaps the leading Klezmer band in Israel today. Since its inception less than a year ago, the group has performed on Israel television and for many eager audiences. Each player brings his own style and strains of his musical background to bear when performing. This results in the freshness and rejuvenation of our old heritage.
Pamela Kidron, Jerusalem Post 8 July 1988 :
Bernie Marinbach picked up klezmer music playing for Orthodox and Hassidic weddings in Brooklyn. He apprenticed with an older generation of American klezmers who had been active in the 1930's and 1940's, well before the emergence of new klezmer groups in the U.S. in the late 1970's.
Although he has performed at Orthodox and Hassidic weddings here since immigrating in 1975, he remains relatively untouched by the local, purer style. "I have my own style", Marinbach says. "I leave myself free to embellish what I picked up in New York".
Benjamin Bar-Am, music critic, Jerusalem Post 11 July 1988:
The Israel Music Heritage Project, which presents, in concert form, music from the sources, is an important new institution that can familiarize audiences with great Jewish musical traditions from all over the world....
Eastern European traditions were represented by the brilliant Israel Klezmer Ensemble.
Dr. Zippora Jochsberger, Founder and Director of the Israel Music Heritage Project wrote to Bernie on 4 April 1989 :
On behalf of the Israel Music Heritage Project, and on a personal basis, I wish to express our gratitude for the participation of the Israel Klezmer Ensemble in the "Music from the Sources Concerts". The performance of the Israel Klezmer Ensemble greatly contributed to the success of the concerts....
In addition, I wish to express my esteem and gratitude for your successful performance in the television production which was broadcast about the Israel Music Heritage.