Alexander Naumovich Tsfassman
TSFASSMAN, ALEXANDER NAUMOVICH (1906–1971), Soviet jazz pianist and composer. Born in Zaporozhe (formerly Alexandrovsk), Ukraine, Tsfassman began to study piano at an early age, and in 1930 he graduated from the piano class of Feliks Blumenfeld at the Moscow Conservatory. While still a student he formed an ensemble of jazz orchestra and piano soloist, a novelty at that time in Soviet Russia, and it was attacked by the Association of Proletarian Musicians for introducing "decadent" Western music. From 1939 to 1946 he headed the large jazz orchestra of Radio Moscow. In later years he appeared mostly as a piano soloist with stage orchestras in performances of his own works or his piano arrangements of popular Soviet songs. In 1957 he was named "Meritorious Artist." His best known works are instrumental jazz music (including a piano concerto with jazz orchestra, 1941) and music written for choir, the theater, and films.
Baker, Biog Dict, s.v.; A.N. Tsfassman, in: Sovyetskaya Musika, 5 (1971), 159.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.