Searching for David Nowakowsky

Searching for David Nowakowsky, Music of a Forgotten Master

Speaker: Ron Graner

David Nowakowsky (1848-1921) and his music have almost been wiped off the face of the earth. Even his tombstone has been destroyed! 3,500 manuscripts were smuggled out of Russia to his granddaughter Sofie, a concert-pianist in Germany, after the Bolsheviks seized Odessa's Brody Synagogue in 1922. In 1937, Sofie and her family became stateless refugees, fleeing the Nazis.

The music was hidden on a farm in occupied France while the family escaped to Switzerland. Only now is the music being published and performed.  Ronald Graner will give a talk on the music of David Nowakowsky and how it survived. The talk will centre around the people who were involved in its rescue (and of their family trees) and the ongoing work of the David Nowakowsky Foundation .

Says Graner: "I was introduced to Nowakowsky's music by another Cantor, Dr. David Lefkowitz, who has spent 30 years editing and catologuing the great master's works. During my own research I was surprised to discover that my late father Irwin was best friends with Nowakowsky's grandson, Oscar Pichon, who came to Toronto in the early '30s, and that my grandmother (nee Geller) may have been related to Nowakowsky's assistant organist, Israel Geller.”

2013-01-30  Temple Sinai