Born circa 1881 in a town
near Galatz, Romania. His father was a smith, with whom
he worked as a young student and thus was called "Koval",
Possessing a beautiful voice, he
became a choir boy for Cantor Abraham Osher in Galatz
(where there were among the other choir boys, the late
Yiddish actor Fishel Kanapov, Lazar Rosenstein, David
Baratz and the singer Yosel Bass).
In 1899, during the
anti-Semitic tensions in Romania, he left with the
pedestrian, immigrating to America, where he arrived in
1900. Here he entered into the former salon of Sholem Sheykeles, Dik and others on the East Side of New York, where he sang Yiddish songs. Later he became a
vaudeville actor and yearlong acted in the small variety
theatres, also with Louis Coopersmith across the
P. had for a short time
acted in the Montreal troupe with Jacob Silbert at its
head, and around 1913 he became engaged in Coopersmith's
Cleveland "Royal Theatre", especially for the role of
"Bar Kochba", "Absalom" (in "Shulamis"), and "Rabbi
Not having any success as an
actor, he learned Yiddish with Zeydl Rovner's
father-in-law, Khasin, notes and chazzanut, and
became a cantor.
According to Coopersmith,
P.'s ambition was to become an opera singer.
He went away from the stage,
and P., already being a cantor, only performed on 29
October 1922 as "Bar Kochba" (with Frieda Zibel as
"Dinah") in Bronx's Prospect Theatre.