Born on 17 January 1875 in
Lemberg, Galicia, a son of Yaakov Ber ("Lexicon of
Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, pp. 479-480). He completed a
two-class gymnasium and the Lemberg conservatory. He performed as a
clarinetist in the city opera, and when Efrayim
Perlmutter went with him to America, G. became an
orchestra conductor in his father's theatre, and there he
orchestrated many operettas that were brought over from
America, of which there were arrived only "directions,"
or the Purim voices. Those orchestrated operettas were
then included in the repertoire of the Yiddish theatres
Jonas Turkow writes in "Extinguished
"In Yiddish theatre [in
Lemberg], a military orchestra from the Austrian army
had to perform. The conductor each time was a non-Jew
with the name of Jozef Pletseti, or as they called him,
'Yosl,' Since 'Yosl' conducted according to a military
stamp, Adolph Gimpel was a much better conductor to him,
and they had completed with Yosele the premieres that
Adolph Gimpel should conduct. He had to wear a
military uniform when he conducted with the orchestra,
and he had to sit as such the entire time, so people
would not recognize him."
Furthermore, according to Jonas
Turkow, after his father's death, (1906),G.'s brother,
Emil, took over the concession for the theatre, the
entire theatre library with the plays, the costuming and
settings, and had engaged his brother Adolph as an
employee studying singing with the
actors, and from time to time conducting with an
orchestra at first. Later G. became the main conductor
for the orchestra. G. however had the notes for all
plays and they didn't want to give them to his brother,
and between them a quarrel was created, which was
maintained throughout their entire lives, and they had
not spoken to each other.
When the Soviets took
Lemberg and created a Yiddish State Theatre there, G.
performed in an orchestra as a violinist. When the
Germans took Lemberg and created the ghetto here,
G. with his wife wandered through the streets there,
starving, farvorlozte. They were sent away by the
Germans to Belzac, where they were killed.
G. had three sons who were
rescued, all well-known musicians: Kuba, a
pianist-accompanist; When the Soviets had, during the
Second World War, taken Lemberg, he was arrested and put
into prison; Karol, a famous pianist and conductor (died
in a prison hospital in Busara), and Branislav, a famous
violinist virtuoso, who lived in America and
often guest-starred throughout the world.
"Lexicon of the
Yiddish Theatre," Vol. I, New York, 1931, p. 479.
Jonas Turkow -- "Extinguished
Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. I, pp. 235-251.