Skip to main content

Kestenberg, Leo


KESTENBERG, LEO (1882–1962), pianist and music educator. Born in Rózsahegy (Rosenberg), Hungary, the son of a ḥazzan, Kestenberg studied the piano in Berlin with G. Albrecht, F. Kullak, and Ferruccio Busoni whose personality exercised a lasting influence on his career. Attaining early fame as a concert pianist, he at the same time joined the young Social-Democratic movement, and began to work toward his major ideal, the social integration of musical life. From 1905, Kestenberg organized the performances of the Freie Volksbuehne (Popular Theater) – folk choirs, concerts, and meetings. Especially after his appointment in 1918 as the music adviser, and in 1927, as the music counselor, at the Prussian Ministry of Culture, he turned to the thorough reform of musical education known today as the "Kestenberg-Reform." His yearly educational decrees extended to music teachers in academies, seminaries, conservatories, schools, and kindergartens. In 1933, Kestenberg fled to Prague where he founded, under the sponsorship of the Czech Ministry of Education, the International Society for Music Education, which held three major international congresses. Arriving in Ereẓ Israel in 1938, he became the general manager of the Palestine Orchestra (later the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). In 1945 Kestenberg founded the Music Teachers' Training College in Tel Aviv, which he headed for over 15 years and regarded it as the fulfillment of his musical mission. At the college he realized for a third time his ideas on the role of music in the life of a nation. As professor at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music, he educated a number of well-known Israeli pianists. Among his publications are: Musikerziehung und Musikpflege (1921); Jahrbuch der deutschen Musikorganisation (1929); Kunst und Technik (1930); Bewegte Zeiten (autobiography, 1961); and he was the editor of Musikpaedagogische Bibliothek.


G. Braun, Die Schulmusikerziehung in Preussen. Von den Falkschen Bestimmungen bis zur Kestenberg-Reform (1957); E. Gerson-Kiwi, in: Acta Musicologica, 30 (1958), 17–26 (Eng.); idem, in: Gesher, 5:3 (1959), 110–1; idem, in: Haaretz, 25 (Nov. 30, 1942), 2; mgg, incl. bibl.; Grove, Dict; Baker, Biog Dict, incl. bibl.; Riemann-Gurlitt, incl. bibl.

[Edith Gerson-Kiwi]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Kestenberg, Leo." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 19 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Kestenberg, Leo." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (April 19, 2019).

"Kestenberg, Leo." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved April 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.