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Joachim Stutschewsky

STUTSCHEWSKY, JOACHIM (1891–1982), composer, cello player, and folklorist. Stutschewsky was born in Romny (Ukraine) to a family of musicians who had been klezmerim (entertainment players) for several generations. After studying at the Leipzig Conservatory (1909–11) he joined the Jena string quartet and played with the local orchestra. From 1918 to 1924 he stayed in Zurich, where he was active as soloist, chamber-music player, and cello teacher, and began to write his treatise on the art of cello playing which became recognized as one of the major modern manuals and has also been published as an official method in Russia. In Zurich, Stutschewsky began to promote lectures on and concerts of Jewish music, in cooperation with the movement begun by the Society for Jewish Folk Music. From 1924 to 1938 he stayed in Vienna and undertook concert tours dedicated to Jewish music in several countries. Going to Ereẓ Israel in 1938, he established himself as one of the most influential musical personalities in the country, continuing as a cello pedagogue, composer, lecturer, and writer.

Stutschewsky's style as a composer began in the East European vein and also absorbed in Israel the local influences of the Near Eastern Jewish communities and the emergent new folk-song styles. His earlier writings, as well as his many arrangements of folk and traditional melodies, were a part of the efforts made during the 1920s and 1930s to propagate the cause of Jewish music as such. In the later ones, such as the book Ha-Klezmerim (1959) and the collections Zemer Am (1940) and 120 Niggunei Ḥasidim (1950), he turned to specific tasks of collection and preservation including, in Ha-Klezmerim, invaluable reminiscences and materials from his own family and regional traditions of the klezmer's life and activities. In the field of general music Stutschewsky published a considerable number of arrangements and transcriptions for cello, which also became repertoire standards, and augmented his cello manual by several books of etudes. His other compositions include a symphonic poem Safed (1960) and other orchestral work; incidental music for the *Ohel Theater's Fishke ha-Ḥigger, based on *Mendele Mokher Seforim's novel (1939); cantatas to texts by S. Shenhod; chamber music for various combinations; piano pieces (including Ze'eiriyyot, Miniatures for Children, 1946); cello pieces; numerous original and arranged songs to Hebrew texts; and arrangements of East European Jewish songs. He also wrote Mein Weg zur juedischen Musik (1936), and autobiographical notes in Taẓlil, 8 (1968), 65–67.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.