WEISSER, ALBERT (1918–1982), U.S. musicologist, composer, editor, and choral conductor. Born in New York City of Russian-Jewish parentage, he attended high school in Queens and sang in the choir of his uncle, the renowned cantor Joshua S. *Weisser. He studied piano with Isaiah Seligman and played with various dance and jazz bands prior to entering New York University in 1940. In 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and later earned a Purple Heart for wounds received during the Normandy invasion. While convalescing in England, he studied privately with composer Ralph Vaughn Williams. He resumed his studies in composition (at NYU) under Miriam Bauer and Philip James. Upon graduating in 1948, he entered the master's program in musicology. Under the guidance of Curt Sachs, he wrote his thesis on "The Jewish National Music in Russia," which was later published as The Modern Renaissance of Jewish Music: Events and Figures, Eastern Europe and America (1954). He also studied privately with Lazare *Saminsky, who encouraged his work on the St. Petersburg School. He was music director of Temple Israel (Great Neck) until 1960. He taught at Brooklyn College from 1959 to 1969 and at the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York), where he taught the history of Jewish music and music theory from 1970 until his death. While serving as first president of the newly founded *American Society for Jewish Music (1974–82), he conceived the scholarly journal Musica Judaica. He published Bibliography of Publications and Other Resources on Jewish Music (1969), and "The Music Division of the Jewish-Ethnographic Expedition in the Name of Baron Horace Guinsbourg (1911–1914)," in Musica Judaica, 4 (1981–1982), 1–7.
I.J. Katz: "In Memoriam: Albert Weisser (1918–1982)," in: Musica Judaica, 4 (1981–1982), 87–98 (includes his complete writings and compositions).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.