B i o g r a p h y

“She connects all the dots from present to past.”
 Joe Ross, Ross’ Reviews



Deborah’s early influences (thank you Columbia House Record Club!) include, Liltin’ Martha Tilton, Mildred Bailey, Danny Kaye, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Charlotte Rae, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Sandy Denny, Victoria De Los Angeles, Patsy Cline, Sam Cooke, Dinah Shore and musical theater soundtracks from the 1950’s (specifically Marc Blitzstein’s version of Three Penny Opera and the first version of Bernstein’s Candide).   


Favorite stage credits include originating and singing the role of Sonny in Jeff Weiss’s long-running, Obie award-winning live serial Hot Keys, working with Circus Amok, Naked Angels, the improvisational group Shock of the Funny, and several New York opera companies. She is a frequent recitalist at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium and currently performs with Ismail Butera’s “Velvet Jubilee”.   


Through her work with several Klezmer bands, Deborah became acquainted with Yiddish language and music.  She combined this growing interest with her passion for opera to create a concert, entitled Songs My Mother Never Taught Me, for the National Yiddish Center in Amherst, MA.  The resultant CD features lesser-known Yiddish songs culled from her paternal grandfather’s sheet music collection.  The concert grew into a one woman show that Deborah has toured throughout the east coast and in Germany.  You can learn about the show here.


In 2008 Deborah released her second CD, La Promessa.   She is also the featured vocalist on five of Metropolitan Klezmer’s releases , and on the 2006 cast recording of  "Blindwitness News" by Ben Yarmolinsky and Charles Bernstein.                                                                                            

 "Then there's the sultry style of vocalist Deborah Karpel, a cult figure on New York's downtown theater scene. Who knew Yiddish could be so sexy?”


Kate Waller, The Advocate