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Article

Reinhold Sietz

revised by Matthias Wiegandt

(von)

(b Frankfurt, Oct 24, 1811; d Cologne, May 11, 1885). German conductor, composer and teacher. He was the son of a wealthy Jewish merchant and revealed an outstanding talent for music at a very early age. His principal piano teacher was Alois Schmitt, in his day one of Frankfurt's most discriminating pianists. When he was ten Hiller played a concerto by Mozart at a public concert. Several important artists showed an interest in him, among them Spohr, Speyer, Moscheles and Mendelssohn who became Hiller's closest friend and on whose recommendation he went to Weimar to become one of Hummel's pupils (1825–7). During his stay there he met Goethe, played in concerts at court and at Goethe's home and composed various pieces of incidental music for the Weimar theatres and society. He also accompanied Hummel to Vienna to visit Beethoven on his deathbed. After returning to Frankfurt he continued to study and compose and made occasional concert tours. 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 ...

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Janna Saslaw

(b Breslau [now Wrocław], Aug 13, 1831; d Leipzig, Feb 1, 1902). German composer, theorist, teacher and conductor. He studied first in Breslau and later at the Leipzig Conservatory. He left Leipzig to study the piano with Liszt in Weimar (1849–52); there he heard Wagner's Lohengrin, which greatly impressed him. After returning to Leipzig, he studied with E.F. Richter and privately with Moritz Hauptmann. Jadassohn taught the piano in Leipzig, then conducted the synagogue choir (1865), the Psalterion choral society (1866) and the Musikverein Euterpe concerts (1867–9). In 1871 he was appointed teacher of harmony, counterpoint, composition and piano at the conservatory, and in 1893 named royal professor. His students included Busoni, George Chadwick, Delius, Grieg, Karg-Elert and Felix Weingartner.

Although successful as a performer, theorist and teacher, Jadassohn considered himself primarily a composer. He wrote works for piano, chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus and solo voices, comprising over 140 opus numbers, but was perhaps best known for his canonic compositions: the Serenade for Orchestra op.35, two serenades for piano opp.8 and 125, the ballet music op.58 and the vocal duets opp.9, 36, 38 and 43. He also edited and arranged works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner and others....

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Article

Jean Mary Allan

revised by Rosemary Williamson

(b Edinburgh, July 26, 1823; d London, May 28, 1891). Scottish pianist and composer. He had his first lessons from his father, Samuel, and made his first concert appearance in the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms at the age of six. In 1834 he entered the RAM in London to study the piano under Cipriani Potter, and harmony and composition under John Goss; he became King’s Scholar in 1837. In 1838 he played at the RAM a piano concerto of his own. He was soon appointed teacher of piano in the RAM, and later a director. During the 1850s he was also professor of music at St Mary’s Hall, Brighton. In his earlier life Jewson was considered one of London’s finest pianists, and was famous as a teacher (Mackenzie was one of his pupils). Although his compositions are little heard today, they are of fine calibre and craftmanship; the Etudes de concert...

Article

Beatrix Borchard

(b Kitsee, nr Pressburg [now Bratislava], June 28, 1831; d Berlin, Aug 15, 1907). Austro-Hungarian violinist, composer, conductor and teacher . He was born on the Esterházy estates into a Jewish family which moved in 1833 to Pest. His talent was recognized at an early age and systematically nurtured. His first teacher was the leader of the Pest Opera Orchestra, Serwaczyński, with whom Joachim made his public début at the Adelskasino in Pest, on 17 March 1839. He went to Vienna to play first for Hauser and then for Georg Hellmesberger the elder, and took lessons from Joseph Böhm, a former pupil of Rode, himself taught by Viotti, both of whom adhered to the classical French school.

By the age of 12 his technique was fully developed, and in early 1843 he began studying with Mendelssohn in Leipzig. The meeting with Mendelssohn was so decisive for the young Joachim that his life can be understood in terms of a mission to promote Mendelssohn's work. The composer arranged for Joachim to receive composition tuition from Hauptmann, and also a good general education. After a successful début playing Bériot's Adagio and Rondo at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

(b Paris, March 5, 1827; d Saint Germain-en-Laye, May 22, 1905). French composer. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in October 1841, gaining second prize for harmony in 1846, first prize in 1847 and the second Grand Prix in 1849. From 1847 to 1866 he was professor of solfège at the Conservatoire, and from 1859 professor of harmony for military bands. He became director of music at the Portuguese synagogue, and published a collection of Hebrew tunes in 1854. He was an early contributor to Offenbach's Bouffes-Parisiens with the one-act operetta Le duel de Benjamin (1855), followed by Le roi boit (1857) and several more. Les deux arlequins (1865) and Le canard à trois becs (1869) gave him success abroad, and their production at the Gaiety Theatre, London, led to a commission for the three-act Cinderella the Younger (1871), later produced in Paris as ...

Article

Folke Bohlin

(b Stockholm, March 27, 1818; d Uppsala, March 29, 1880). Swedish composer and conductor. He belonged to a Jewish family which came to Sweden at the end of the 18th century and still plays an important role in Swedish cultural life. In 1841, when he was studying at the University of Uppsala, he was baptized (adding Axel to his name). In the same year he published his first solo songs, dedicated to Jenny Lind. He taught music at the Cathedral School (1841–3) and led a singing society, Lilla Sällskapet, which devoted itself mainly to ancient sacred music (Gunnar Wennerberg was a member). Josephson completed his university studies in 1842 with a small thesis on modern music, Några momenter till en karakteristik af den nyaste musiken, in which he attacked Rossini and praised Mendelssohn. With financial assistance from Jenny Lind he studied music abroad from 1844 to 1847...

Article

(b Rosenberg, Hungary [now Ružomberok, Slovakia], Nov 27, 1882; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 14, 1962). Israeli educationist and pianist of Hungarian birth, active mainly in Germany. After studying the piano with Kullak and Busoni and composition with Felix Draeseke in Berlin, he made frequent appearances as a concert pianist and began teaching at the Stern and Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatories in Berlin. From his student days his political and cultural activities had developed his ideas about the role of music in education and had also equipped him with the organizational experience to put them into practice. In 1918 he became musical adviser to the Prussian Ministry of Science, Culture and Education, becoming in 1922 director of the newly established music department of the Central Institute for Education and Teaching. The institute organized in May 1921 a school music week, the first of eight annual events held in different German towns, where Kestenberg’s music reforms were explained and discussed. In the same year Kestenberg’s ...

Article

Alma Kunanbayeva

(b Erbol [now in Kokchetav province], 1831; d 1894). Kazakh traditional composer and singer. He was born to the family of Turlybai and began composing songs at the age of ten. He belonged to a special category of artists in Kazakh society known as sal and seri, masters of the art of song who usually functioned as part of a group which included those skilled in wrestling and horse-racing, dömbra players, storytellers, jewellers and masters of wit. Birjan was a talented aqyn (poet-singer) and took part in numerous aitys (contests), the most famous of which was with Sara Tastanbekova. He travelled throughout Kazakhstan and became well known. Many of his songs became widely popular, notably Birjan-sal (an autobiographical song), Leyailam-shrak (a girl's name meaning ‘my dear flame’) and Zhonïp aldï (literally ‘polished’, ‘shaved’). He also composed two songs based on verses by Abai Kunanbaev, in whose household he was on occasion a guest. Birjan's songs were characterized by a number of features including melodic originality, indissoluble unity of text and music, and the inclusion of his own name in the texts of his songs, many of which were autobiographical. Several legends concerning the creation of his songs also became well known. In ...

Article

Mikaela Minga

( b Leskovik, Kolonjë, Albania, ? 1885; d Istanbul, Turkey, ? 1965). Albanian singer of Romani origins . Both her father and brother were saze musicians, a typical ensemble in south Albania, consisting usually of a clarinet, violin, laouto, baglama, and frame drum. Her activity is primarily related to her birthplace, Leskovik, considered a core place for saze performance in the first half of the 20th century. She sang and played the violin with the group. The performances with her brother Selim Leskoviku (singer and clarinettist), recorded for the Odeon label’s 78 rpm recordings, are well known. Their two-part singing is based on the multipart singing practices characteristic of the rural areas of south-eastern Albania. Their saze group was family based. They had their own tavern but were also hired to play in different places nearby. Leskoviku has been described as having a very large vocal range, of up to three octaves. It has been said that she used to dress like a man and cut her hair short, attitudes that attributed her a special status among the ...

Article

Peter Wollny

(b Berlin, June 19, 1761; d Berlin, May 11, 1854). German harpsichordist, music collector and patron. She was a daughter of the Jewish banker Daniel Itzig (1723–99) and great-aunt of Mendelssohn. On 2 July 1783 she married the banker Samuel Salomon Levy (1760–1806). With her siblings, of whom Fanny von Arnstein (1758–1818) and Zippora Wulff (later Cäcilie von Eskeles, 1760–1836) were particularly well known as musical amateurs, she received a thorough musical education. She is said to have been a pupil of W.F. Bach at a later date, and she was certainly in contact with C.P.E. Bach, from whom she commissioned a harpsichord concerto. A number of contemporary documents mention her activity as a harpsichordist in private musical circles, for instance in the house of her brother-in-law Joseph Fliess. Later she frequently performed with the Ripienschule of the Berlin Sing-Akademie founded by C.F. Zelter. She was particularly interested in the music of the Bach family as well as the works of other Berlin composers (J.G. and C.H. Graun, Janitsch and Quantz), and is therefore one of the figures central to the appreciation of Bach in Berlin in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She gave the Sing-Akademie considerable parts of her extensive collection of music, including autograph manuscripts by W.F. and C.P.E. Bach; after her death, some of the remaining items apparently came into the possession of A.W. Bach, and is now dispersed among many European and North American libraries....

Article

Jerzy Morawski

(b Kalisz, March 14, 1831; d Warsaw, Nov 22, 1896). Polish violinist, composer and bandmaster. Born into a Jewish intellectual family, he started learning to play the violin at an early age and gave public performances as a child. After leaving secondary school in Kalisz, he studied the violin under K. Baranowski and Jan Hornziel in Warsaw. From 1850 he played in the orchestra of the Wielki Theatre in Warsaw. Then, with the cooperation of A. Kühn, he organized his own orchestra and gave concerts at Nowa Arkadia. He also gave performances at the Mineral Water Institute in the Saski Gardens, and from 1857 until his death he performed in the Variety Theatre, playing mainly dances, of which he composed many. He also organized popular symphony concerts at the Resursa Obywatelska (Citizens' Club) and played in chamber music concerts. For a time he was a member of the string quartet founded by K. Baranowski. Lewandowski left about 350 compositions, which were published from ...

Article

Irena Poniatowska

(b Warsaw, Dec 22, 1840; d Warsaw, July 13, 1927). Polish violinist and composer. Son of a Jewish street musician, he played the violin in Warsaw taverns. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1852–5) with J.L. Massart (violin) and Ambroise Thomas (composition), and won a premier prix in 1855. His career as a soloist began in 1852 when he performed in the Salle Herz in Paris. In 1857 he gave three concerts in Warsaw (15, 18 and 19 February), in 1860 in Warsaw, Lublin and in 1861 played in Kraków; he also appeared in many European cities, including Paris (1860, 1865), Berlin, Weimar and Leipzig. He was professor of violin at the Strasbourg Conservatory (1873–80) and the Music Institute in Warsaw (from 1880); he was also leader of the Warsaw opera orchestra. His compositions are exclusively for the violin.

Article

Peter Franklin

(b Kalischt, nr Iglau [now Kaliště, Jihlava], Bohemia, July 7, 1860; d Vienna, May 18, 1911). Austrian composer and conductor. He wrote large-scale symphonic works and songs (many with orchestra) and established a career as a powerful and innovatory conductor; while director of the Vienna Hofoper between 1897 and 1907 he provided a model of post-Wagnerian idealism for the German musical theatre. His compositions were initially regarded by some as eccentric, by others as novel expressions of the ‘New German’ modernism widely associated with Richard Strauss. Only during his last decade did they begin to enjoy the critical support and popular success that helped to ensure the posthumous survival of his reputation as a composer beyond the years of National Socialism in Germany and Austria. Mahler suffered the fate of innumerable banned composers of Jewish origin at a time when his music was still imperfectly known and understood outside the German-speaking countries of Europe. The centenary of his birth in ...

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Article

[Samuel Moses]

(b Halle, May 15, 1795; d Berlin, May 17, 1866). German music theorist, critic and pedagogue. One of the most influential theorists of the 19th century, Marx named and codified sonata form. As a critic he awakened and cultivated early appreciation for the symphonies of Beethoven; as a pedagogue he worked to make music an integral part of the education of the individual and of the development of the German nation.

Marx was the son of a Jewish doctor in Halle. He entered the university there in 1812, studying law, and together with Carl Loewe also studied composition with Türk. He practised law in Naumberg from 1815 to 1821, and in 1819 converted to Protestantism, changing his forenames from Samuel Moses to Friedrich Heinrich Adolf Bernhard. In 1821 he moved to Berlin, where he increasingly gave himself over to music and studied for a short period with C.F. Zelter. The music publisher A.M. Schlesinger made him editor of the ...

Article

Felix Aprahamian

(b Mannheim, June 5, 1879; d London, Jan 9, 1985). English music patron of German birth . Son of a wealthy and musical German-Jewish brewer, he entered the Mannheim Conservatory when he was six. He was a gifted pianist, and at the age of 11 was encouraged by Brahms. He became a businessman, however, settling in England in 1896 and becoming a naturalized British subject in 1902. In 1919 he married the singer Dorothy Moulton. Having made his fortune in the metal business in the USA and the City by 1923, he sought to make a lasting contribution to music. His wife’s recollection of a concert for children they had heard in New York decided the form their patronage would take. The first Robert Mayer Children’s Concert (29 March 1923) coincided with a transport strike in London, but the audience (300 for the first concert) grew to ...

Article

Matthias Brzoska

[Jakob Liebmann Meyer ]

(b Vogelsdorf, nr Berlin, Germany, Sept 5, 1791; d Paris, France, May 2, 1864). German composer. The most frequently performed opera composer during the 19th century, linking Mozart and Wagner.

Meyerbeer was descended from distinguished families in the Jewish society of Berlin. His father, Jakob (Juda) Herz Beer (1769–1825), was an industrialist and contractor to the Prussian army, and his mother, Amalia (1767–1854), was the daughter of the banker Liebmann Meyer Wulff, whose family can be traced back to Jost Liebmann, a Jew at the court of the Great Elector. Amalia Beer received the finest minds of Prussia in her salon, including the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the poet A.W. Iffland, and Alexander von Humboldt, with whom Meyerbeer maintained a close lifelong friendship. At an early age he took piano lessons from Franz Lauska, and by the time he was 11 he was a successful prodigy, although he encountered hostile anti-Semitism in his childhood....

Article

M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

(b Berlin, June 13, 1887; d New York, April 22, 1967). American musicologist, conductor and critic, of German birth . He studied musicology with Friedlaender at the University of Berlin and law at the University of Heidelberg, where he received the doctorate in 1911. From 1913 to 1921 he worked as an operetta conductor in Osnabrück, Essen, Strasbourg, Bremen and elsewhere; later (1921–3) he was music director of the Berlin Kammeroper. In the 1920s and 30s he was a critic for the Lokalanzeiger and other newspapers (including a few Jewish ones) and a writer of programme notes for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He taught music theory and history at the Stern Conservatory and conducted several madrigal choirs. The Nazis identified him as an important Jewish music critic, but on account of his non-Jewish wife Anni he was spared the concentration camps. He did, however, have to endure forced labour as a porter in the Jüdische Bibliothek des Sicherheitshauptamtes. After the war he was able to resume teaching and was even invited to form an orchestra by the mayor of Schöneberg, but he was abruptly arrested by a Soviet patrol for obscure reasons. After his release he emigrated to the USA in ...