Helfman, Max

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Helfman, Max

Helfman, Max, Polish-born American choral conductor and composer; b. Radzin, May 25, 1901; d. Dallas, Aug. 9, 1963. He was taken to the U.S. in 1909. He studied at the David Mannes School of Music in N.Y. and at the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia, where his teachers were Scalerò in composition and Reiner in conducting. He subsequently was active mainly as a conductor of Jewish choral groups; was in charge of choral singing at Temple Emanuel in Paterson, N.J. (1926–39), Temple B’nai Abraham in Newark (1940–53), and Temple Sinai in Los Angeles (1954–57); was music director at the Brandeis Inst, in Santa Susanna, Calif., and dean of the arts at the Univ. of Judaism in Los Angeles (1958–62). He wrote a dramatic cantata, New Hagadah (1949), and several pieces of Jewish liturgical music; ed. a series of choral works for the Jewish Music Alliance.


P. Moddel, M. H. (Berkeley, 1974).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire