Born on 23 May 1878 in Olyka,
Volin Gubernia, into a poor family. He learned in a
cheder, then in a Slonim yeshiva. Here he secretly
became familiar with the Haskalah literature, and soon
thereafter traveled to Berdichev, where he became a
choir boy for Nissan Belzer.
A short time later he
entered in as a chorus singer with Fishzon, where he
also acted in smaller, then larger roles. However, the
status of Yiddish theatre did not satisfy him, and he
went to Vienna where he became a teacher of Yiddish and
Hebrew and received through this the means to put
together and systemize his education. He also learned in
Berlin, and may have then returned to Russia, where he
associated himself with the Russian state as a conductor
(a long time with great success in the troupe of
Zhukov). H. became drawn to the Yiddish stage, and he
entered into it as a conductor in Yiddish theatre,
giving himself entirely to performing on the stage.
After touring for several
years with various itinerant troupes, H. settled for a
span of several years in Lodz, where he was employed by
Zandberg in the local Grand Theatre. During wartime, H.
migrated across Russia, hereby composing in Odessa
compositions for Itzhak Nozyk's operettas "Reyzele dem
rbins" and "Malkhale soldat".