Born in Greece, Avram Pengas’ extraordinary talent and quicksilver fingers led him from playing lead guitar in the Israeli Air Force Band to performing at New York’s celebrated venues, such as Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Town Hall. A skilled musical arranger, lead guitarist and self-taught virtuoso on the bouzouki, a stringed Greek instrument, Pengas creates music that is rooted in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and draws upon Eastern and Western musical elements. In the early 1970s, Pengas appeared at El Avram and the Cafe Feenjon nightspots in New York City.

In 1979, he opened his own nightclub Noga in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village. It was there that he and a close circle of versatile, like-minded performers showcased their wide-ranging tastes and talents as a part of the Noga Group. Pengas’ first album, Noga captured the group’s (and the club’s) spirit and sound. Since then, he has appeared in concerts and music festivals throughout the United States, including the Bethlehem Musikfest, Yidstock, and the Jewish Arts Festival of Commack, as well as Israel’s annual Klezmorim Festival in Zefat.

Avram has also lent his talents to the Off-Broadway production of Hot Klezmer, Pengas can still be heard most often in the clubs of downtown Manhattan.