Opera

Alexander Olshanetsky

Composer & conductor of Yiddish theater music

Alexander Olshanetsky was born in Odessa, Ukraine. He played with the Odessa Opera orchestra and toured Russia and Siberia, and later was the choral director for a Russian operetta company. He stayed in Kharbin (today in China), and conducted a Yiddish theater group there. In 1922, Olshanetsky immigrated to the U.S. and worked as a composer and conductor for the Yiddish theater. From 1925 and until his death, Olshanetsky was one of the most prominent composers and conductors of the "Second Avenue" milieu.

1892–1946

Gary Bertini

Israeli Composer and conductor

Born in Bessarabia (today Moldova), immigrated to Palestine in 1946. Founded and directed the Rinat Choir (1955-1974), the Israel Chamber Orchestra (1964-1975) and other Israeli musical establishments. Was an acclaimed conductor in Israel and abroad. As a composer, known mostly for his incidental theater music.

For an extended biography, courtesy of Gary Bertini's website, click here

1928-2005

Rafael Schächter

Choral director & opera conductor in Theresienstadt (Terezín)

Rafael Schächter was born May 27, 1905, in Braila (Rumania). After World War I, Schächter moved to Brno, where he began his formal musical studies. He continued his studies at the Prague Conservatory of Music, where he received degrees in composition and conducting, and at the Master School, in piano. After graduating, Schächter formed a successful Chamber Music Opera, and was a sought after vocal coach.

1905-1944

Gershon Sirota

Cantor

Gershon Sirota was born in 1874 in Podolia, where his father officiated as the village cantor. As a boy, Sirota frequently assisted his father in leading services at the local synagogue. At the age of 13, Sirota went to visit his grandparents in Odessa and was hired to lead services at the local Bet Hamedrash (small house of prayer), where his grandfather was a member. The board of trustees, and other music professionals in attendance, were taken aback by the young boy’s talent.

1874-1943

Myer Leoni

English cantor

Myer Leoni began his musical career as an opera singer in England. In 1767 he took a position as cantor of the Great Synagogue in London, but continued performing in Operas, providing they didn’t conflict with his Synagogue duties.

Leoni, along with collegue Giordani, established an English Opera company in Dublin in 1783, which due to financial difficulties only ran for a short time.

d. 1796

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