Joseph Achron

Biography

Born: May 13, 1886; Lazdijai, Lithuania   Died: April 29, 1943; Los Angeles, CA  
Joseph Achron was born Youssel Achron, the eldest son of a Russian Jewish cantor, fiddler, and folk architect. Joseph Achron took an interest in the violin at age two, and had his first lessons at five. In Warsaw, in 1891, Achron studied with Polish virtuoso Isidor Lott. At age seven, Achron made his debut as violinist, wrote his first composition, and began to tour Russia as a prodigy violinist. From 1898 Achron studied with Leopold Auer at the Read more St. Petersburg Conservatory, taking harmony with composer Anatol Liadov, and later, orchestration with Maximilian Steinberg.

In 1911, Achron came into contact with the members of the Jewish Folk Art Society, a loosely organized group of composers headed by Joel Engel. In hindsight this coalition is recognized as representing the first fruits of the New Jewish School. The Jewish Folk Art Society was founded in 1908 and dedicated, in part, to the notion of fostering a concert class variety of traditional Jewish folk music. Once aware of the Society's goals, Achron promptly wrote out the first masterpiece of the Jewish folk art genre, Hebrew Melody for violin and piano, Op. 33. Several of the other violin pieces for which Achron is best known, including Hebrew Lullaby op. 35/2 and the two pairs of Stimmungen (Moods, Op. 32 and Op. 36) were written in 1911-14.

Achron spent World War I in Russia, engaged primarily to play for Russian troops. In 1918, the Soviets dissolved the Jewish Folk Art Society as counter-revolutionary. In 1920, Achron married singer Marie Raphof, and composed incidental music for the local Jewish Chamber Theater. In 1922, Achron relocated to Germany, to rejoin members of the discredited Jewish Folk Art Society still active there. In Berlin, Achron composed the popular Kindersuite, Op. 57, and became acquainted with the powerful head of the Prussian Music Conservatory and ISCM founder, Arnold Schoenberg. However Achron decided to immigrate to the United States in 1925. Before departing for America, Achron took a trip to Palestine to see the Holy Land. Achron's experiences in Palestine were transformed into such works as his Dance of Salome for wordless chorus, percussion, and piano, Op. 61 (1925).

Once in New York City, Achron composed music for Maurice Schwartz' Yiddish Art Theater. Achron refashioned his music for Sholem Aleichem's play Stempenyu (The Fiddler, 1929) into a suite for violin and piano that has become a latter day favorite with concert violinists. In 1932, Achron presented a suite drawn from his music for H. Leivick's play Der Golem at the ISCM Festival held in Venice. This work marked Achron's adoption of atonal elements, and the final section, signifying the unmaking of the monster, is a total retrograde of the first, in which the Golem is created. In 1934, Achron settled Los Angeles, Achron; he and his wife Marie becoming a part of the inner circle of artists that surrounded Schoenberg. Achron also worked as a violinist in the major Hollywood studio orchestras. In December 1936, Achron gave the highly successful premiere of his own Second Violin Concerto, op. 68 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor Otto Klemperer. However, in March 1939 Los Angeles critics rejected Achron's Third Violin Concerto op. 71 as being too cold and abstract. In the early 1940s, Achron became ill, and his last completed work was the Concerto for Piano Alone op. 72. Achron died at age 56, leaving a legacy of just about 100 compositions, mostly in manuscript. These are now housed at Tel Aviv University, where a Conservatory is named after him. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 49 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Achron: Works For Violin & Piano / Michael Ludwig, Alison D'amato
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 573240 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Achron
    Performer:  Alison d'Amato,  Michael Ludwig
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  • 2.
    Capriccioso
    Label: Aliud   Catalog: 62 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Ciprian Porumbescu,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stoica (Violin & Piano)
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  • 3.
    Orient Express
    Label: Ars Musici   Catalog: 233800 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Antonín Dvorák,  Joseph Achron,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Take Four Guitar Quartet
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  • 4.
    Le Violon De Rothschild
    Label: Fondamenta   Catalog: 1110009 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Achron,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mieczyslaw Weinberg,  Abraham Goldfaden  ... 
    Performer:  Julien Guenebaut,  Lyonel Schmit
    CD: $21.49
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  • 5.
    Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies / Gil Shaham, Orla Shaham
    Label: Canary Classics   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Bonime,  Joseph Achron,  Avner Dorman,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Orli Shaham,  Gil Shaham
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  • 6.
    Von Ungarischer Und Judischer Seele
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 98955 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perlman,  Jenö Hubay,  Joseph Achron,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Edan
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  • 7.
    Dedications...: A Life In Music
    Label: Cello Classics   Catalog: 11027 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Alexander Scriabin,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Harvey,  Linn Hendry,  Peter Pettinger,  Meralyn Knight
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  • 8.
    Achron: Complete Suites For Violin And Piano / Hagai Shaham, Arnon Erez
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67841 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Achron
    Performer:  Hagai Shaham,  Arnon Erez
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  • 9.
    Mischa Elman - 1961 BBC Recitals
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1475 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Achron,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Joseph Seiger
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  • 10.
    Sounds of Defiance - Music of Shostakovich, Schnittke, Part, Achron / Kutik
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81429 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Achron,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Arvo Pärt,  Alfred Schnittke
    Performer:  Yevgeny Kutik,  Timothy Bozarth
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  • 11.
    The Historical Hwv Recordings, 1956
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6622 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moritz Moszkowski,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Robert Schumann,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Tullio Macoggi,  Renato de Barbieri
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  • 12.
    Solo Turban!
    Label: Telos   Catalog: 72 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Camillo Sivori,  Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda,  Leon de Saint-Lubin  ... 
    Performer:  Ingolf Turban
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  • 13.
    The Hollywood Cello
    Label: Soundset   Catalog: 1032 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Richard Hageman,  Lazare Saminsky,  Joseph Achron  ... 
    Performer:  Gregory Hamilton,  Kate Hamilton,  Robert Hamilton
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  • 14.
    Hebraische Melodie
    Label: Zuk Records   Catalog: 330 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Achron,  Joseph Kaminski,  Alexander Weprik,  Joachim Stutschewsky  ... 
    Performer:  Monica Gutman,  Marat Dickermann
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 15.
    Curtain Call For The St. Petersburg Jewish Music Society 100th Anniversary
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637556885 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moses Milner,  Joseph Achron,  Mikhail Gnesin,  Alexander Veprik  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Prenen,  Sovali
    CD: $26.99
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  • 16.
    Hebrew Melodies
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38447 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Achron,  Jerry Bock,  John T. Williams,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Valentin Zhuk,  Celeste Zewald,  Vache Bagratuni,  Ilonka Heilingloh
    Conductor:  Jeroen Weierink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Amsterdam
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Zimro, A Broken Concert Tour - Music Of The New Jewish School For Sextet / Vogler String Quartet, Nemstov, Halevi
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93209 Release Date: 06/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Julius Chajes,  Joseph Achron,  Mitya Stillman,  Grigory Abramovich Krein  ... 
    Performer:  Chen Halevy,  Jascha Nemstov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
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  • 18.
    Hebrew Melodies / Isabelle Durin, Michael Ertzscheid
    Label: Jade   Catalog: 36345 Release Date: 03/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perlman,  Joseph Achron,  Max Bruch,  Ernest Bloch  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ertzcheid,  Isabelle Dunn
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Works For Violin & Piano / Gowers, Owen
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 64 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Monti,  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Katharine Gowers,  Charles Owen
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 20.
    Music From Banff
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81229 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Agustín Barrios Mangoré,  Frank Martin,  Heather Anne Schmidt  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Tunis,  Desmond Hoebig,  Antigoni Goni,  Caren Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amernet String Quartet
    CD: $16.99
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  • 21.
    The Goldenzweig Duo At The Park Avenue United Methodist Church
    Label: Goldenzweig Duo   Catalog: 5637311832 Release Date: 12/19/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Joseph Achron,  Juan Carlos Cobian,  Astor Piazzolla  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 22.
    Classic Portraits - The Best Of Mischa Elman
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1656 Release Date: 05/30/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Aram Khachaturian,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Joe Seiger
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 23.
    Orientale - Music For Piano Duo Inspired By The East / Goldstone & Clemmow Duo
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25032 Release Date: 05/30/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adam Gorb,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Alexander Borodin,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Caroline Clemmow,  Anthony Goldstone
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  • 24.
    Legendary Treasures - Mischa Elman Collection Vol 1
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7736 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Anonymous,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Leopold Mittman
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Eugene Ormandy,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $37.96
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  • 25.
    Elman Plays Hebrew Melodies - Bloch, Bruch, Etc
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1882 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Bonime,  Ernest Bloch,  George Perlman,  Julius Chajes  ... 
    Performer:  Joe Seiger,  Mischa Elman
    CD: $9.99
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