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Lazare Saminsky

Lazare SaminskyLAZARE SAMINSKY (1882 – 1959) was music director at Temple Emanu-El in the early 1920s. While at Emanu-El, Mr. Saminsky composed music for the Sabbath and High Holy Days and commissioned works from other Jewish composers including Joseph Achron and Isidor Freed, efforts that helped make Emanu-El a renowned center for Jewish music.

Born to a merchant family, Mr. Saminsky received a broad education in the arts, sciences and languages. He studied music at the Odessa Conservatory from 1903 until 1905 and then went to Moscow, where he studied mathematics and philosophy as well as music. Expelled for his participation in student protests, Mr. Saminsky then went to St. Petersburg, where he studied with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatoly Lyadov and Nikolai Tcherepnin. While still a student, Mr. Saminsky became a founding member of the Society for Jewish Folk Music, which laid the foundations for the Jewish music and Klezmer revival in the United States and was a key influence in the development of Israeli folk and classical music.

In 1919 Mr. Saminsky left the Soviet Union and travelled to France and England, where he gave recitals of Russian and Jewish music and led a ballet season at the Duke of York’s Theater in London, where he married the English poetess, Lillian Morgan. In December 1920 he left to settle in the United States, where he was active as a composer, conductor and organizer of musical events. In 1922 he became a board member of the International Composers Guild.

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