Saminsky, Lazare

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Saminsky, Lazare

Saminsky, Lazare , Russian-American composer, conductor, and writer on music; b. Valegotsulova, near Odessa, Nov. 8, 1882; d. Port Chester, N. Y, June 30, 1959. He studied mathematics and philosophy at the Univ. of St. Petersburg, and composition with Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov and conducting with N. Tcherepnin at the St. Petersburg Cons. (graduated, 1910). He emigrated to the U.S. in 1920, settling in N.Y.; in 1923 he was a co-founder of the League of Composers; served as music director of Temple Emanu-El in N.Y. (1924–56), where he founded the annual Three Choirs Festival (1926). He was married to an American writer, Lillian Morgan Buck, who died in 1945; in 1948 he married the American pianist Jennifer Gandar. He wrote an autobiography, Third Leonardo (MS, 1959). In his compositions, he followed the Romantic tradition; Hebrew subjects and styles play an important part in some of his music.


DRAMATIC : The Gagliarda of a Merry Plague, opera ballet (1924; N.Y., Feb. 22, 1925); The Daughter of Jephta, opera ballet (1928); Julian, the Apostate Caesar, opera (1933–38). ORCH.: Vigiliae, symphonic triptych (1912; Moscow, Feb. 20, 1913, composer conducting); 5 syms.: No. 1, Of the Great Rivers, in “E-Frimoll” (free minor mode) (1914; Petrograd, Feb. 25, 1913, composer conducting); 5syms.: No. 2, Symphonie des sommets (1918; Amsterdam, Nov. 16, 1922), No. 3, Symphony of the Seas (1924; Paris, June 1925, composer conducting), No. 4 (1926; Berlin, April 19, 1929, composer conducting), and No. 5, Jerusalem, City of Solomon and Christ, for Chorus and Orch. (1929–30; N.Y., April 29, 1958); Lament of Rachel, ballet suite (Boston, March 3, 1922); Venice, “poem-serenade” for Chamber Orch. (Berlin, May 9, 1928); Ausonia, suite (1930; Florence, Feb. 24, 1935); To a New World (1932; N.Y, April 16, 1951); 3 Shadows (1935; N.Y, Feb. 6, 1936); Pueblo, A Moon Epic (1936; Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 1937); Stilled Pageant (1937; Zürich, Aug. 1938); East and West, suite for Violin and Orch. (1943). vocal: Litanies of Women for Voice and Chamber Orch. (1925; Paris, May 21, 1926); Eon Hours, suite of 4 rondos for 4 Voices and 4 Instruments (1935; N.Y, Nov. 28, 1939); Requiem, in memory of Lillian M. Saminsky (N.Y., May 20, 1946); A Sonnet of Petrarch for 3 Voices and 3 Instruments (1947); several Hebrew services. other: Piano pieces.


Music of Our Day (N.Y, 1932; second ed., rev. and aug., 1939); Music of the Ghetto and the Bible (N.Y, 1934); Living Music of the Americas (N.Y, 1949); Physics and Metaphysics of Music and Essays on the Philosophy of Mathematics (The Hague, 1957); Essentials of Conducting (N.Y, 1958).


D. de Paoli et al., L S.: Composer and Civic Worker (N.Y, 1930).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire