Birth

Nowakowsky was born in Malyn in Ukraine in 1848, part of the Machnovska. Little of his early life is known, although there are several stories that survive. At 8 he left home, apparently due to the hounding of his stepmother, to sing in a trio with a cantor in the nearby town of Smelnik. He was later orphaned and joined the choir of cantor Spitzberg in Berditchev. He also studied traditional Jewish liturgical modes with cantor Yerucham (HaKaton) Blindman, and organ, theory and counterpoint at the Conservatory in Berdychiv.  Years later, after Nowakowsky was recognized as a master composer, the roles were reversed. Blindman became Nowakowsky’s student of harmony and counterpoint.

 

One Commentto Birth

  1. master says:

    The Berdychiv choral synagogue still exists. After the Jewish inhabitants had either managed to escape, or were captured and killed by the Nazis, the synagogue was first used as a saloon, and later converted into a leather glove factory, which is still in use to this day. Early reports of the acoustic qualities of the choral synagogue, say that there was excellent sound throughout the hall.

    After Nowakowsky was recognized as a master composer, the roles were reversed and Blindman became Nowakowsky’s student of harmony and counterpoint. Blindman was known as Ha Katon (The little one) because he was a dwarf, and Blindman (blind man) because he was also blind. It was his marvelous voice that attracted his many admirers. Blindman’s compositions are preserved in the “out-of-print” music anthologies.

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