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Article

Kathleen Dale

revised by Axel Helmer

(Emanuel)

(b Stockholm, Jan 19, 1860; d Stockholm, Jan 20, 1938). Swedish composer, organist and conductor. He attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1882–6), studying counterpoint and composition with J. Dente, and was a pupil of Franck in Paris (1887–8). In Stockholm he was coach at the Royal Opera (1888–90), organist at the synagogue (1890–1928), music teacher at Norrmalm’s grammar school (1895–1923) and teacher at Richard Anderssons Musikskola (1897–1909). From 1886 he conducted several choirs, including the Bellman Choir (1895–1926), which he also founded, and the Philharmonic Society (1900–03). Åkerberg’s compositions often approach the style of Swedish folk music, especially the ballads Kung Svegder and Prinsessan och Svennen. They are technically sound but conventional.

MSS in S-Skma, Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Kiev, June 1, 1898; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 27, 1964). Israeli cantor and composer of Ukrainian birth. Born into a family of cantors (both of his grandfathers were cantors, as was his father), he made his cantorial début in Kiev at the age of eight. At the age of 14 he became the choir director at his father's synagogue, where he helped to introduce the 19th-century polyphonic repertory. He studied the piano and theory at the Totovsky Conservatory and later counterpoint and composition with Glière. In 1920 he moved to Chişinău, now in Moldova, where he served as cantor and continued his studies with Abraham Berkowitsch (known as Kalechnik), an authority on cantorial recitatives. After emigrating to the USA in 1926 he served as cantor for congregations in New York and Los Angeles. His extensive recordings with Asch and RCA Victor made him famous in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. In ...

Article

Edith Gerson-Kiwi

revised by Israel J. Katz

(b Filzburg, nr Libau [now Liepāja, Latvia], June 11, 1882; d Johannesburg, Aug 15, 1938). Jewish cantor and musicologist of Russian birth. Raised in a traditional German Jewish environment, he trained as a cantor in Libau; he also studied briefly at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) where he met Eduard Birnbaum. Later he studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin and at the conservatory and university in Leipzig; his claim to have studied at both institutions with Kretzschmar (history), Zöllner (composition) and Jadassohn (harmony) remains unsubstantiated. He served as cantor at the Adat Jeshurun congregation, Leipzig (1902). From 1903 to 1905 he was a cantor at Regensburg and then after a year in Johannesburg he was persuaded by the president of the Zionist movement, David Wolffsohn, to emigrate to Jerusalem, where he lived from 1906 to 1921. These were decisive years for Idelsohn's research into the diverse musical traditions of the Sephardi and ‘Oriental’ Jewish communities and Muslim and Christian sects. Although his plans in ...

Article

Don Harrán

( b Venice, 1571; d Venice, 1648). Italian rabbi, cantor and scholar . He was a cantor in the Scuola italiana (Italian synagogue), Venice, from 1607 until his death. He appears to have introduced some form of polyphony, probably improvised, into the synagogue at Ferrara in 1604. Erudite in Jewish and humanist studies, Modena composed more than 40 writings, on subjects as diverse as Hebrew language and grammar, lexicography, Jewish rites and customs, Kabbalah, alchemy and gambling, as well as various plays, prefaces and rabbinical authorizations, translations, editions, almost 400 poems, and a highly personal autobiography. Music occupied a central place in his life and thought. Among his extended responses to questions put to him in his capacity as a religious authority, he wrote two essays on music, specifically polyphony: the first (1605) legitimizes its use in Jewish prayer services and celebrations, as well as for study; the second (from later years) addresses the issue of whether it is permitted to repeat the name of God (in a single voice or between voices)....

Article

Robert Stevenson

(bc 1515; d ?Toledo, 1579). Spanish organist of Jewish descent. He served as assistant to the blind Francisco Sacedo, who was principal organist of Toledo Cathedral from 22 January 1541 until his death shortly before 7 August 1547. Peñalosa, who had by then become a priest in the Toledo diocese, was elected his successor on 31 December 1549. From 30 June 1552 he had to divide his stipend with another organist Francisco López. Peñalosa applied 11 years later for the post of organist of Palencia Cathedral, which had become vacant on the death of Francisco de Soto in summer 1563. On 5 January 1564 the Palencia chapter dismissed him, since he seemed to be attempting to seek double employment with the Toledo and Palencia chapters. Apparently he remained at Toledo until 1579. No relationship to Francisco de Peñalosa has yet been discovered, nor do any of his compositions survive....

Article

Irena Poniatowska

(b Kalisz, 1849; d ?Berlin, after 1890). Polish synagogue cantor and later operatic baritone. He went to Warsaw in 1867 and studied under L. Sterling for two years; he then moved to Vienna, where he studied at the conservatory under Salvatore Marchesi. He made his début as Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia in 1874 in Vienna. He then sang in Italy (Mantua, Novara, Venice, Turin, Milan and Ancona) and for a season at Covent Garden. His next engagement was in South America, where he sang at Caracas; on returning to Europe he sang at Bucharest, then for three years at Dresden, with guest appearances in Vienna, Leipzig, Wiesbaden and Munich. Under contract to the impresario Maini, he concentrated on the Italian repertory and sang in Warsaw from 1882; there he scored successes not only in Italian works but in Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Robert le diable, Les Huguenots...

Article

Alexander Knapp

(b Hohenems, March 30, 1804; d Vienna, Jan 17, 1890). Austrian cantor and composer. He was the first musician since Salamone Rossi to raise the standards of composition and performance in the synagogue. Three outstanding qualities made him legendary among Jews of the western world. First, his baritone-tenor voice drew admiration not only from the Viennese community whom he served as Obercantor from 1826 until 1881, but also from scholars, musicians (including Meyerbeer, Schubert, Schumann and Liszt), and even the aristocracy; in 1868 he became Knight of the Order of Franz Joseph. Second, his fiery temperament created a vogue among contemporary cantors, who tried to imitate both his singing style and his everyday deportment. Third, and most significant in the development of Jewish music, his compositions became the models upon which almost every newly emancipated congregation based its synagogue ritual covering the entire year. Schir Zion (music for the synagogue service), published in two separate volumes (...