Secunda, Sholom

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SECUNDA, SHOLOM (1894–1974), composer. Secunda was born in Aleksandia (Kherson region), Ukraine. His family moved to Nikolayev in 1897 and immigrated to New York in 1908. As a child, Secunda had already been a meshorer and assistant ḥazzan. In New York he began studying music and in 1913 was engaged at the Oden Yiddish Theater as "chorister, composer, and errand-boy." His first musical play, Yosher ("Honesty"), written with Solomon Shmulevich, was produced there in 1914. Subsequently he became musical director and composer at most of the Yiddish theaters in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, etc. During that time he also continued his musical studies at the Juilliard School, Columbia University, and, for one year, with Ernest *Bloch. From 1950 to 1961 Secunda was musical director of the Brooklyn Jewish Center and from 1967 music lecturer at New York University and Hunter College.

Secunda's compositions include dozens of Yiddish musical plays and operettas; an opera called Sulamith (based on *Goldfaden's libretto); songs to texts of *Yehoash, *Reissen, *Frug, and others; various orchestral, chamber, and choral works; and musical liturgical works (two Sabbath services, and High Holy Days and festival services). Among his songs, three became especially popular: "Dos Yidishe Lid," "Dona, Dona," and "Bay Mir Bist Du Sheyn."


Z. Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater, 2 (1934), 1515–18.

[Bathja Bayer]