Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


(Yekhiel-) Meir Posner


Born on 6 November 1890 in Plotsk, Poland. As a child of six he came over with his parents to Lodz, where he learned with a local rabbi Elihu Khayim Meizel.

At age fifteen, he immigrated with his parents to London, where he gave lessons in Hebrew. Without the help of a teacher, only from a method book, he learned notes and music theory, then learned harmony and counterpoint with a private teacher. At age eighteen, he was employed as a conductor in one of the large synagogue in London, which he was associated with for five years, and then became a conductor for "Hazamir".

In 1910 he began his activity as a composer by creating music for Morris Rosenfeld's "Herbst-bletlekh", and for songs for another Yiddish poet. He also composed music for a Hebrew operetta "Ezra vnechemya". In 1913, he became cantor in Menor Park (a suburb in London). In 1914 he was director and conductor in Rothschild's shul.

In 1917 he adapted into a modern form H. Epfelberg's "Dovid in der viste", for which he composed music [with Reyzen, excelled as an opera "Shaul"].

In the summer of 1919, he arrived in America, where he became conductor of a chorus with the "Arbeter Ring", and since then has delivered by spreading the Yiddish folk song.


He adapted over twenty folk songs, and in March 1920 he arranged the first concert of Yiddish folk songs with a large chorus in Carnegie Hall. Later he was conductor of the "Choral Alliance" synagogue, with the cantors Shlisky and Rosenblatt, professor of music in the "Master Institute and United Arts", and conducted for five "Arbeter Ring" choruses in New York and its environs.

In September 1926 in New York's Irving lace theatre, there was staged [under Ben-Ami's and the author's direction], Yevreynov's "Di shif mit tsikim" with P.'s music.

On 19 February 1930, Joseph Buloff staged in Bronx's American Theatre, "Der regnboyn, a singing, dancing and humorous evening" with music by P. [including "Dos hemerl" and "May ko mshme ln" for Abraham Reyzen's "Drey neytorins" and "Khasen-kale" by Peretz et al.

On 16 March 1930 in Carnegie Hall, there was staged for Yehoash's yahrzeit [performed by the children of the Sholem Aleichem folkshul], Yehoash's "Zingemaring", with P.'s music, published in the "Children's Journal" of March 1930.

P. also wrote the antraktn music for "Dos groyse gevins" by Sholem Aleichem that was staged by the Yiddish Art Theatre, the music to "Rbnishe kinder, oder, In rbins hoyf, an operetta in 4 acts with a prologue by Y. Adler". P. had composed synagogue compositions for solo and chorus, original songs in Yiddish and English, adapted folk songs for solo and chorus, arranged workers' songs for chorus, by himself wrote choral songs in Yiddish and won the contest of the "Arbeter Ring" [text by A. Lesin].

In 1923, he published in New York's "Tog", articles about Yiddish Music and especially about cantors.

P. in book form issued: "Harmonye [theoretical and practical music teacher] by Meir Posner, first part, publisher "Levant", New York, 1924", [143 pp., 8], and "Elemental muzik lerer" by Meir Posner, publisher "Harmonye", New York, 1928 [157 pp., 16].

On 8 February 1931, P. passed away in New York and was brought to his grave site at the "Arbeter Ring" Cemetery.

Sh. E. from his wife R. Posner.

  • Zalmen Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. II, pp. 846-849.

  • Kh. Ehrenreich -- Di 5 idishe khoren velkhe der arbeyter ring hot oyfgeboyt, "Forward", N. Y., 28 January 1927.

  • Ben-Aaron -- A por verter vegen dem petersoner khor, "Der tog", Newark, 29 April 1929.

  • Sy. Meydzhar [Y. P. Katz] -- 2 muzik lehr-bikher oyf idish fun meir pozner, "Forward", N. Y., 20 October 1929.

  • W. Edlin -- Der khor fun arbeyter ring un zeyn dirigent m. ozner, "Der tog", N. Y., 3 Aril 1930.

  • W. -- Vi azoy der etersoner khor hot geert zeyn dirigent pozner'n, "Der tog", N. Y., 4 July 1930.

  • Yosef P. Katz -- Meir pozner, "Der freynd", N. Y., March-April 1931.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 1612.

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