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Alexander Olshanetsky (1892 - 1946)

Alexander Olshanetsky was one of the most prominent composers and conductors associated with the American Yiddish theater. He was also highly regarded as a synagogue choir director, and he wrote a handful of (unpublished) liturgical music that is clearly theatrical in nature. Olshanetsky was born in Odessa, where he had a traditional Jewish and a modern Western-oriented Gymnasium education. He immigrated to the United States in 1922 and almost immediately became involved with the Yiddish theater, initially with Maurice Schwarz's Yiddish Art Theater, for which he wrote incidental music and the well-known song Shiru, and then with the popular "Second Avenue" medium, with which his name became ubiquitous from 1925 until his death. Two of his most famous Yiddish theater songs are Mayn shtetele belz and ikh hob dikh tsufil lib.


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