Wasserzug (Lomzer), Ḥayyim

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WASSERZUG (Lomzer), ḤAYYIM (1822–1882), cantor and composer. Born in Sieradz, Poland, Wasserzug became cantor in Konin at the age of seventeen. In his years at Nowy Dwor, near Warsaw (1841–54), he introduced four-part choral music to the Polish synagogue, despite the bitter opposition of the Ḥasidim. He pursued his innovation as cantor in Lomza (1854–59) and Vilna (1859–67). In 1868 he emigrated to England, and, until his death, officiated at the North London Synagogue. In 1878 he published Shirei Mikdash, with his own compositions and some older melodies all simply harmonized for cantor and choir. Wasserzug had a voice remarkable for its quality and compass, and he drew great crowds wherever he sang. He was offered a contract to sing in opera, but refused it on religious grounds.


jc (Sept. 1, 1882), 7; E. Zaludkowski, Kultur-Treger fun der Yidisher Liturgie (1930), 84–87; Wininger, Biog, 6 (1935), 217–8.

[David M.L. Olivestone]