Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yitzhak Pirozshnikov
(translation incomplete)


Born on 8 May 1859 on the Dnieper island Khortitz(?), Ukraine, as a son of a mechanical engineer, an autodidact, who also had the joy of the rabbinate. Until the age of thirteen he learned in a cheder and read many Hebrew books in his father's rich library. From childhood he manifested a desire for music and, against the wishes of his parents, entered into the Warsaw Conservatory and became a military Kapellmeister in Dinaberg, then Vilna. At the same time he was choral- and orchestra director for the Yiddish Teachers' Institute in Vilna.

P. had, through a new method, developed and popularized among the broad masses the playing of the concertina, and later by himself created a concert tour with the instrument across Europe, America, etc. In 1900 he left his previous post and opened in Vilna a printing shop and a Yiddish publishing house, in which he put out foreign and also his own books. In Vilna he also founded the first Yiddish singing union and staged in Vilna in his Yiddish translation (in a concert hall) solo and choral numbers of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussogorsky and the "Dance of Death" of Studzinski.

According to Noach Nachbush and A. Azro, P. had, in 1908, staged in Vilna with a literary-dramatic circle for the Bund. According to Chaim Salsky, P. stood at the head of the "Vilna Yiddish Scientific Literary Circle" (whose active members were Peretz Hirschbein, David Einhorn, Jacob Ben Ami, Chaim Levin and Y. Rosenbaum.)


In 1912 he immigrated to America, and here he published many articles about music in "Tsunkunft" ( including in 1915-16 about an opshtat of Yiddish melodies), "Friend," "The New Word," and for a certain time he was a contributor to the "Forward," where he wrote articles about music and directed the department "Replies to Questions of Music."

P. founded the first singing union of the "Workmen's Circle" in New York and Patterson, and children's choruses in the Yiddish folkshul, for which he had by himself created Yiddish lyrics for singing. He also adapted into Yiddish Andreyev's one-act comedy, "Menshn-libe" and Chekov's one-acter "Kalkhaz" (Anton Chekov, the "swan song" (kolkhos), a dramatic etude in one act, in Yiddish, adapted by Y. Pirozshnikov, Max N. Mayzel, New York, 1919, 16 pp., which in 1910 was performed through Jacob Ben Ami.

On 14 June 1933 P. passed away in New York and was cremated.

Dr. Ts. Shabad wrote about his passing:
"For our Vilna...more to translate..."

Hirsh Abramowitz wrote:
"At times Yitzhak Pirozshnikov performed an entire...more to translate..."

Sh. E. from Noach Nachbush and A. Azro.

  • Zalmen Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. II, pp. 905-908.

  • Necrology in the "Forward," 15 June 1933.

  • Dr. A. Shabad -- Yitzhak pirozshnikov, "Vilner tog," Vilna, 30 June 1933.

  • Hirsh Abramowitz -- Yitzhak pirozshnikov, "Di tsayt," Vilna, 30 October 1933.

  • Chaim Mayzel -- "In malpishe lapes," Di tsayt," Vilna, 26 October 1933.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Theatre Mosaic," New York, 1941, pp. 172-173.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 1825.

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