Solomon Braslavsky

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Prof. Solomon Braslavsky (1887-1975) was born in Ukraine and given his first music education by his cantor-father. Braslavsky then studied music in Vienna at the Royal imperial Academy of Music and at the University of Vienna. In 1928 Rabbi Herman Rubenovitz brought Braslavsky to Boston to serve as music director at Congregation Mishkan Tefila, where he remained for his entire career. Braslavsky created an impressive musical service of superior quality, and he held the professional choir to the highest standard. Mishkan Tefila’s organ was truly magnificent, second only in size and quality to that of Symphony Hall in Boston. Much of the music heard in the services was the product of the great 19th century masters, including Sulzer and Lewandowski. But Braslavsky also contributed many of his own compositions. When Leonard Bernstein was a child, the family synagogue was Mishkan Tefila. And Bernstein recollected that the first time he heard great music was as a child, listening to the organ and cantor and choir, all under the direction of Prof. Braslavsky. “I used to weep just listening to the choir, cantor and organ thundering out—it was a big influence on me,” he said. “I may have heard greater masterpieces performed since then, and under more impressive circumstances, but I have never been more deeply moved.” Bernstein remained friendly with Braslavsky (whom he affectionately called, “Brassy”) throughout his life.

ComposersAyan Sanyal