Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Herman Wohl


Born on 8 September 1877 in Otinya, by Stanislawow, Eastern Galicia. His father was a religious storekeeper. He learned in a school and with a religious teacher. At the age of nine he went away as a choir boy with the Snyatiner cantor Lieberman, then he came to Cantor Shabtai Veys in Stanislawow, where he learned music and soon began to compose. Later he sang with Cantor Vilder in Stanislawow and seeing that with his voice he couldn't not accomplish much, W. at age sixteen became a chorus conductor there. However, soon thereafter he entered into Yuvelir's troupe in Galicia, where he performed as an actor, sang in the chorus and at the same time wrote music for the songs of the repertoire.

On 12 May 1896 W. was brought by Cantor Vilner to America as an orchestra conductor in his synagogue on Attorney Street in New York and later in Boston.

Being active as a conductor in the synagogue (with Cantor Alter Bazman, and then with Aaron Siegel in the Roumanian Synagogue in New York), W. in 1900 became at first an assistant conductor to Yidele Belzer in Horowitz-Chaimowitz's troupe in the Windsor Theatre, then the composer of the troupe, and he wrote the music to Zeifert's "Khoyvi tsion" and Horowitz's "Hadassah".

With the arrival of musician Efrim Perlmutter, W. became his collaborator, and in the span of sixteen years, together they created music for the operettas: "Ben hador", "Tsvey tnoim",

Muzinke", "Bnai yisrael", "Yetsies mitsraim (Exodus from Egypt)", Jacob and Esau", to tens of other operettas by M. Horowitz; to Anshel Schorr's "Di almone (The Widow)", and "A mentsh zol men zayn", and to Thomashefsky's "Dos pintele yid", "Di neshome fun mayn folk (The Soul of My People)", "Di yidishe kroyn (The Jewish Crown)" and "Di poylishe khasene (The Polish Wedding)".

Engaged to Edelstein in the People's Theatre, W. composed by himself the music to Michael Goldberg's musical comedy "Gelekht un gelakht", to Adam Mesko's operetta "Di nakht fun libe", and then (in Thomashefsky's theatre) to Thomashefsky's "Dos heilike lid", to Gershom Bader's "Di goldene royze", and to Zolotarevsky's "Kinder kumt aheym (Children Come Home)".

Currently, W. has joined with Weintraub in the Liberty (Theatre) and has written the music for Lillian's plays "Gerekhtigkeyt", and to Hershl Kaufman's "Der idisher stern", and later (again for Thomashefsky) to Isidore Lash's "Yoshke khvat", to Israel Rosenberg's "Yankel litvak", to Boymvol's "Maskenbal", [Lash's adaptation of "Madam freylin"], to Thomashefsky's "Lebedik un fraylekh", and "Toyznt un eyn nakht (Thousand and One Nights)", and to the play "Arontshik un Solomontshik" by H. Kalmanowitz.

Later W. for three seasons was orchestral conductor and composer in Gabel's theatre.

In 1927 in the Public Theatre, W. wrote the music for Louie Freiman's "Dem zeydens gelibte", to Siegel's "Dem rebbins zundl", to Harry Kalmanowitz's "Amol iz geven a prints", to Siegel's "Di galitsianer khasene", and "Di seder nakht" (The Seder Night), and to Israel Rosenberg's "Di galitsianer rebetsin (The Galician Rabbi)".

Being associated with Yiddish theatre, W. for a certain time again was also the conductor of the Ohab Zedek synagogue with Yosele Rosenblatt, and in the Sephardic Synagogue in Borough Park with Cantor Morgenstern.

Many of W.'s compositions were printed and also were sung for the gramophone.

M. E.

  • Herman Wohl -- "Di geshikhte fun khazanus", N. Y., 1924, pp. 130-1.

  • A. Frumkin -- Vegen muzik un suzheten far opereten amol un haynt, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 9 March 1928.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 639.

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