Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Hirsh


Born in 1870 in Khirov, by Pshemysl, Galicia. Two years later his family moved to Pshemysl. Parents -- merchants, gehaltn dem aktsiz. He learned in a cheder, other courses with a teacher, and Tenakh with a rabbi.

H. sang with cantors. Due to his beautiful voice, Yerakhum Hktn took him as a choir boy to Tarnopol, where he enrolled in a school and was also left to study music. One-and-a-half year later, Cantor Bakhman took him to Lemberg, where H. further learned in a school and studied in a conservatory. After losing his child's voice, H. became a chorus conductor in the synagogue.

With his parents immigrating to Vienna, H. entered there into a conservatory oystsubildn his baritone voice, and soon he became engaged to Bucharest as a conductor and solo singer in the municipal shul. A short time later, H. became a chorus tutor and soloist in the orchestra of the Romanian National Theatre and conductor in the summer season in the Yiddish troupe of Zilberman and Lateiner. Here he also mediated the transition of Berta Kalich onto the Romanian stage.

H.'s first activity as a composer consisted of rallying the Oriental population of Bucharest the oriental melodies for Lateiner's operetta "Chana mit di zibn sons (Chana and her Seven Sons)",

then H. wrote music for Horowitz's operettas: "Der hoyzirer", "Krbn beyram", et al. When Goldfaden (after his return from Lemberg) staged in Romania "Rothschild", H. acted in the role of "Firsht", then also other roles and at the same time [acting as] the chorus conductor. In each time H. recorded the various melodies, which Goldfaden sang for him and wrote the music for Goldfaden's "Moshiakh's tseytn (Time of the Messiah)", adapting new music for "Dos tsente gebot" and writing music for many songs and couplets, which were sung in that repertoire.

In 1904 H. arrived in Chicago, associating himself with the troupe of Pincas Thomashefsky and wrote music for his plays. Then he joined as a conductor with Glickman and went on many yearly tours across America, including a season in the Haymarket Theatre (direction by Adler, Kessler, Thomashefsky), a season in a cooperative union theatre, a short time with Spachner in Philadelphia, and again several seasons with Glickman in Chicago. There H. wrote from time to time music for the operettas.

H. was a member and vice-president of the Chicago Yiddish Actors Union for the Midwest and Canada, which had existed only for a short time.

M. E.

  • Berta Kalich -- (Memoirs) "Der tog", N. Y., 10 July 1925.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 611.

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