Born on 6 October 1857 in
Goldingen, Courland. Descended from an old musical
family. Father -- a violinist who had led his own
F. completed in the German
language a for- and kreyz governmental
school, where he also learned Hebrew, grammar and
Tenach. At age seven he began to learn violin with his
father and then with the musician Moses Benyaminson, who
took him in (after his father's death) to raise
and support him. Thus F. performed with him for three
years in an orchestra. At the age of thirteen, F. went
with his mother and sister to Peterburg and there for a
half-year attended the conservatory. Returning to
Goldingen, he performed with Benyaminson's orchestra in
kur-erter and in aristocratic clubs.
Serving in the military in
Dinaburg (Dvinsk), F. participated, as well as a
flautist in a military orchestras, that performed in
guest performances in Yiddish theatre (Adler, Karp,
Leyzer Tsukerman and Tobatshnikov). He chose to befriend
Yiddish actors and was with them, after his military
service, conductor, and later with them conductor in
another Yiddish troupe (Joseph Weinstock, Halan,
Spivakovski, Chaimovich). Returning to Goldingen, he
became there an assistant conductor in a folks
orchestra, but in short he traveled to London, where he
entered into a Yiddish troupe as a conductor (Adler,
Karp, Leibush Gold, Kurazh, Manne and wife, Moshe
Zilberman and wife) in the "Princes Club".
Here he saw Schiller's
"Robbers" and made more Jewish "Kabale in libe" (staged
11 August 1884).
About that production, a
critic [possibly Morris Winchevsky] wrote in London's
"Der poylisher idel":
"The translation by Mr.
Herman Fiedlernas a translation is not bad. Mr. Fiedlernonly then feler made the scene [action] more of a
Russia ibertsutrogn, and the character of
Schiller mgeyr tsu zeyn. For a prns of a
town the father had from Joseph (Schiller's "Ferdinand")
a tsugroyse deh, and for a prns's a son
hot Joseph too much speech not umzist and
um nisht. Short, the supervisor would have done a
lot better when Schiller's piece would be left as es
iz un volt nit gemakht fun goyim yidn oyf tsurus..."
There, F. also wrote the
operetta "Di lustike kavalern" with his own music
(staged in 1886 in London), and freely translated into
"Der odeser betler" ("Lumpenzamler fun pariz", a French
folks-shtik), with whom Jacob P. Adler often gave
as the translator, or fully as the author of the play,
had later acquired his first popularity.
After the " false fire
alarm" (18 January 1887) in London's Yiddish theatre, F.
arrived in America where he settled in Chicago, and there
for twenty-four years conducted in the Yiddish theatre,
and he wrote music for Feinman's "Der held fun yehuda",
and Zolotkoff's "Shimshen hagiber (Samson, the
Hero)" (1895), also many texts and music to
couplets and duets.
In 1911 F. retired from
Yiddish theatre and since then had lived as a violin
On 18 June 1930 F. passed
away in Toronto, Canada, and was brought to his grave
site in Chicago.
M. E. and M. E.
from Jacob Katzman.
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, pp. 51, 271.
[--] -- Idishes
theater in london, "Der poylisher idel", London, Nr'
-- "Mayn lebens geshikhte", N. Y., 1916, p. 145.
Jacob P. Adler --
Mayn lebn, "Di naye varhayt", N. Y., 18 April, and
28 May 1925.