Altschuler, Modest

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ALTSCHULER, MODEST (1873–1963), violoncellist and conductor. Born in Mogilev, Russia, Altschuler studied cello at Warsaw Conservatory with J. Hebelt (1884–86) and at the Moscow Conservatory with W. Fitzenhagen (until 1890) and other disciplines with A. Arensky, V. Safonov, S. Taneyev, and others (graduating in 1894). In 1895 he immigrated to the United States and founded the Russian Symphony Society (with the orchestra, in New York), which he directed and conducted in 1903–18, presenting works by Russian composers. He performed with Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Micha *Elman, Joseph Levin, and Scriabin. With the latter he was associated by close friendship and performed all his symphonic works, many of them for the first time in the United States, including the world première of Poème de l'Extase (1908). He also wrote recollections on the composer published by L. Stanley. After 1925 he taught in Los Angeles, continued conducting, wrote transcriptions, including an orchestral version of Tchaikovsky's Trio, and published his Memoirs (1956).


L. Stanley, "Scriabin in America," in: Musical America 15/2 (1954); J. Soroker, Rossiyskie muzykanty evrei, Bio-Bibliograficheskiy Lexikon, part 1, Jerusalem (1992), 37–8.

[Marina Rizarev (2nd ed.)]