How Many Famous Jewish Composers Can You Name?
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How Many Famous Jewish Composers Can You Name?

Milton Babbitt
Leonard Bernstein
Irving Berlin
Marc Blitzstein
Ernest Bloch
Max Brod
Irving Caesar
Sammy Cahn
Leonard Cohen
Betty Comden
Aaron Copland
Sigmund Romberg
Neil Diamond
Howard Dietz
George Gershwin
Vernon Duke (Vladimir Dukelsky)
Karl Goldmark
Fritz Kreisler*
Burt Bacharach
Harold Arlen
Paul Dukas
Morton Gould
Fromental Halevy
Gus Kahn
Erich Korngold
Alan Jay Lerner
Federick Loewe
Gustav Mahler
Felix Mendelssohn
Fanny Mendelssohn
Meyerbeer
Darius Milhaud
Alex North
Jacques Offenbach
Paul Simon
Bob Dylen
Philip Reich
Steve Glass
Arnold Schoenberg
Andre Previn
Anton Rubenstein
Oscar Straus
Kurt Weill
Richard Rodgers (father changed name from Abrahams)

*”Amy Biancolli’s recent biography Fritz Kreisler: Love’s Sorrow, Love’s Joy (Amadeus Press, Portland Oregon, 1998) contains an extensive discussion of Kreisler’s Jewish background, which he never acknowledged and which his wife adamantly denied (see Chapter 8: “Kreisler the Catholic, Kreisler the Jew”). Biancolli cites a 1992 interview by David Sackson of Franz Rupp, Fritz Kreisler’s piano accompanist in the 1930s. Rupp states that he once asked Kreisler’s brother, the cellist Hugo Kreisler, about the Kreislers’ Jewish background, to which Hugo responded simply, “I’m a Jew, but my brother, I don’t know.” According to Biancolli, Kreisler’s father, Salomon Severin Kreisler (also called Samuel Severin Kreisler), a physician and amateur violinist from Krakow, was almost certainly Jewish. Fritz’s mother, Anna, was a Roman Catholic, and probably an “Aryan.” According to Louis Lochner’s 1950 biography Fritz Kreisler, Kreisler was reared as a Roman Catholic. However, according to unpublished parts of the manuscript uncovered by Biancolli in the Library of Congress, he was baptized only at the age of twelve. The bottom line seems to be that Kreisler was at least half-Jewish and his reticence on the subject primarily an attempt to placate his highly anti-Semitic wife Harriet. (“Fritz hasn’t a drop of Jewish blood in his veins!” she is said to have vehemently responded to an inquiry from Leopold Godowsky. Godowsky retorted: “He must be very anemic.”)

–JINFO.ORG

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