Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Moishe Milner


Born in 1886 in Rokitno, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine. Father -a "luft-mentsh". Used to play a little violin for "his own pleasure". Mother's brother -- a cantor in America. He learned in a cheder, and as an "alto" sang with well-known cantors such as Zeydl Rovner and M. Karetsky.

For two-and-a-half years he toured across cities and towns with Zeydl Rovner, with whom he learned solfeggio, then sang in a chorus with A. Y. Dzhimitrovsky, with whom he sang in Mozart's "Requiem".

Remaining an orphan and mothering his voice, M. decided to become a tradesman, and he learned for two months with an engraver, but went no further than to do errands, etc. Receiving the man's voice, M. returned to Dzhimmitrovski's chorus and began with him to learn to play the piano. Soon however M. there came a teacher Olga Veker, who prepared him for the imperial musical school, where he learned for two years with Professor Puchalski.

1903 -- externed in secular studies and further studied piano. 1907 -- entered into the Peterburg conservatory to take higher courses in piano studies with Prof. Miklashesky, and at the same time also took private lessons with M. N. Barinsky.

 After being with Zeidl Rovner, M. wrote several musical fragments, which he alone hadn't been paid any attention, and at first in 1908 -- already learning in a conservatory -- entered into a special class for theory of composition, took two courses in Harmony with V. F. Kalfaty, and a course in counterpoint with A. K. Lyadov, later studying with Prof. Sokolov, then counterpoint with prof. Vitol, and instrumentation -- with Maximillian Steinberg, and A. M. Zhitomirski.

1914 -- completed the composition class in Peterburg's conservatory, and on 2 October 1915 he received his diploma as an "early" artist.

M.'s compositions, which he had written being in the conservatory and then until 1917, performing in a concert of the Society of Jewish Folk Music, for which M. became aroused by Kiselhoff.

The first concerts of M.'s creations took place on 8 October 1927 in a small hall of the conservatory, the second -- at first on 12 November 1921. On 6 June 1922 there was a concert of M.'s compositions in the State Philharmonic with the participation of the composer Joseph Achron et al.

ON 16 May 1923 in the large dramatic theatre in Peterburg, there was staged M.'s opera "Di himlen brenen, text by the composer, literary adaptation by M. Rivesman, direction -- V. F. Rapoport, settings according to the eskizn of V. A. Stshuka, M. as conductor" [the opera treated the Haskalah in the sixtieth year of the nineteenth century].

M. wrote music for Richard Ber Hoffman's "Khalum yakov" and Leivick's "The Golem", staged by "Habima", and the following productions of the Kharkov Jewish State Theatre: "Yungen" by Fininberg (1927-28 season), "Amerikaner geter" by Sinclair Hoffstein, "Der beserer mentsh" by Haznkveler, "HIrsh Lekert" by Kushnirov, "Di letste" by Reznik (1929-30), "Blut" by Orshansky (1929-30), "Nit gedeyget" by Markish (1930-31, also in a Russian theatre), "Kadren" by Mikitenko, and "Julis" by Daniel (1931).

He also wrote the usic for "Groza" by Ostrovsky, performed in a Russian theatre, and the opera "Der nayer veg" [stands for the transition from Jew to land labor].

Of M.'s compositions there were printed: "In cheder", "Unter di grininke boymelekh" by Bialik, "Iber di hoyfn" (every edition with Latin characters in 1914 in Leipzig, by the Society for Jewish Folk Music), a vocal suite (ten songs), words by I. L. Peretz, ("Culture" Publishing House, Kiev, 1921), "Al Htspur" by Bialik, the same in M.'s German translation, "Ed anh", "Agd", ("Universal Edition", Berlin, 1922), six songs in the words of Jewish proletariat poetry, Moscow, 1926, "Shulamis", words by Buturnik, (edition "Muzsektor", Moscow, 1929), "Es broyzt a shvere arbet" by Samabatnik, (edition" Muzsektor", Moscow, 1929), "Variatsye un fugo", "Folksshtimung" and "Agdh", ("Ukrainian State Publishing House), Kharkov, 1929).

Many compositions by M. were still not published in print.

Sh. E.

Sh. E. by Zalmen Zylbercweig.

  • Mendl Elkin -- Sholem ash's "got fun nekoma" iz zikh nukm an a holender rabiner, "Forward", N. Y., 28 July 1923.

  • H. Kon -- Zaye yidishe muzik, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 41, 1925.

  • Shaul -- Vegn kompozitor milner's muzik tsu peretz markishes dramatishe poeme "nit gedayget", "Morgn fryahayt", N. Y., 29 December 1930.

  • Y. Lyubomirski -- "Melukhisher yidisher teater in ukraine", Kharkov, 1931, pp. 46-70.

  • Dr. Bramitsh -- Dos yidishe teater in yor 1932, "Prese", Buenos Aires, 1 January 1933.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1321.

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