Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yasha Kreitzberg
(Saksanski; Saxon)

Born on 4 December 1885 in Odessa, Ukraine. He studied in a local conservatory, played various instruments in orchestras all over Europe.

He arrived in America in 1922 and shortened his family name to Saxon, but after his marriage he took on the name of Kreitzberg.

In 1932 he became conductor and composer in the Bronx's "Prospect" Theatre (directors -- Nathan Goldberg and Jacob Jacobs), and after two years went over to them in Brooklyn's "Parkway" Theatre, and later in other theatres.

In the span of thirty years he composed music for tens of operettas and life scenes [i.e. lebensbild], e.g. "Dem papas beyby (The Father's Baby)," "Di kale fun sufolk strit (The Bride from Suffolk Street)," "Der nayer yid (The New Jew)," "Zibete evenyu (Seventh Avenue)," "Dos parizer meydl (The Parisian Girl?)," "Lomir zayn freylekh (Let Us Be Happy)," "Der veg tsum zig (The Road to Victory)," "Shmuel itsye fun galitsye (Shmuel Itsye From Galicia)," "A gast in shtetl (A Guest in Town)," "A kind tsu farkoyfn (A Child for Sale)," "Fun berlin keyn nyu-york (From Berlin to New York)," "A nakht in der kontry (A Night in the Country)," "Apartment 7," "Der farblonjeter honimoon (The Lost Honeymoon)," "A folk on a heym (A People Without a Home)," "Di blinde mame (The Blind Mother)," "Shver tsu zayn a meydl (Tough to Be a Girl)," "Der galitsianer shlimzl (The Galician Shlemiel)" which was played and sung by Molly Picon, Samuel Goldinburg,


Leo Fuchs and Max Kletter. K. also composed the music to a ballet in the offering of Isaac Bashevis Singer's dramatized novel, "Di familye mushkat (The Family Muskat)."

Joseph Rumshinsky writes:

"Yasha Kreitzberg came to the Yiddish theatre, not from cantorials, and not as an actor, but from the orchestra. After studying in the Odessa music school, at first he played the coronet and the French horn in various European orchestras. is piano playing helped him get close to the stage by studying and later by conducting in various Russian theatres.

For the last number of years the composer, conductor, while at the same time pianist for the directors Goldberg and Jacobs. Yasha Kreitzberg writes music for various plays, with Jacob Jacobs writing the lyrics."

According to Sholem Perlmutter:

"Yasha Kreitzberg has, just like (the composer) Laskowitz and (Ilya) Triling, attempted to give the best and looked to find the correct and characteristic impression for every melody and every song. Their compositions are based on a certain level of technique, with lovely expressive melodies, with a varying rhythmic and richly colored harmonies. They always had in mind not to forget the melancholy of the melody through the brand new sounds. Many times they succeeded."

Sh.E. and Sh.E. from Shmuel Tofsky.

  • Joseph Rumshinsky -- "Klangen fun mayn lebn," New York, 1944, p. 820.

  • Sholem Perlmutter -- "Yidishe dramaturgn un kompoziters," New York, 1952, pp. 387-388.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 4995.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.