Achron, Joseph

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ACHRON, JOSEPH

ACHRON, JOSEPH (1886–1943), composer and violinist. Achron made his debut at the age of eight, touring Russia as a prodigy violinist. He studied with *Auer and Liadow at St. Petersburg, and later taught at the Kharkov Conservatory (1913–18). Achron began his composing career by writing light music. His association in St. Petersburg with the group of Jewish writers and musicians who founded the Society for Jewish Folk Music brought about a change in musical interests, and manifested itself in his Hebrew Melody (1911). After attempting to settle in Berlin (1918–22) and Palestine (1924), he went to New York in 1925. There he wrote music for Yiddish plays and was commissioned to compose Evening Service for the Sabbath for Temple Emanu-El (1932). In 1934 he moved to Hollywood, wrote film music, but continued serious composition. Achron's work shows the stresses resulting from his double role as a performing musician and a composer. He composed more than 80 works, including violin sonatas and concertos, Symphonic Variations and Sonata on the Folk Song "El Yivneh ha-Galil" (1915), Concerto for Piano Alone (1941), Golem Suite (1932), Sextet for Woodwinds (1942), and incidental music to plays by *Goldfaden, *Shalom Aleichem, Peretz, and Sholem *Asch. The bulk of his manuscripts is preserved in the National and University Library, Jerusalem.

isidor (1892–1948), brother of Joseph, born in Warsaw, was a pianist and composer. He studied in St. Petersburg and toured Europe and the U.S., where he settled in 1922.

bibliography:

A. Weisser, Modern Renaissance of Jewish Music (1954), 81–91; P. Gradenwitz, Musikgeschichte Israels (1961), 160; J. Stutschewsky, Mein Weg zur juedischen Musik (1935), 24 ff.; Sendrey, Music, index; P. Moddel, Joseph Achron (Eng., 1966).

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