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Berlinski, Herman

Berlinski, Herman

Berlinski, Herman, German-born American organistand composer; b. Leipzig, Aug. 18, 1910. He studied piano, theory, and conducting at the Leipzig Cons. (1927–32) and composition with Boulanger and piano with Cortot at the Paris École Normale de Musique (1934–38). In 1941 he settled in the U.S., and in 1947 became a naturalized American citizen. He pursued training in organ with Joseph Yasser at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in N.Y. (Doctor of Sacred Music degree, 1960). From 1954 to 1960 he was asst. organist, and from 1960 to 1963 organist at N.Y/s Temple Emanu-El; subsequently served as minister of music of the Washington, D.C., Hebrew Congregation (1963–77). On Nov. 14, 1981, he appeared in his native city of Leipzig for the first time in 48 years as a recitalist at the new Gewandhaus. His extensive output reflects dedication to liturgical musical expression.

Works

ORCH: Symphonic Visions (1949); Concerto da camera (1952); Organ Concerto (1965); Prayers for the Night (1968). CHAMBER: Chazoth, suite for String Quartet and Ondes Martenot (1938); Flute Sonata (1941; rev. 1984); Hassidic Suite for Cello and Piano (1948); Quadrille, woodwind quartet (1952); String Quartet (1953); Le Violon de Chagall, violin sonata (1985); many organ pieces, including The Burning Bush (1956) and 11 sinfonías (1956–78). VOCAL: Oratorios: Kid-dush Ha-Shem (1954–60); Job (1968–72; rev. 1984); The Trumpets of Freedom (Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 1988). Cantatas: The Earth Is the Lord’s (1966); Sing to the Lord a New Song (1978); The Beadle of Prague (1983); The Days of Awe (1965–85; Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 1985). Other Vocal: Songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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