Joseph Kaminski

browse music by Joseph Kaminski published by IMI

Josef Kaminski was born in 1903, and soon afterwards moved with his family to Warsaw. His musical talent was apparent from childhood. In 1909, when he was six years old, he began to play the violin. In 1921, at the age of 12, the child prodigy performed as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. His rendition of Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy won him critical. During this period he became interested in the piano, began studied piano as a composition tool, and began to compose music. In 1922 he moved to Berlin in order to study violin and composition at the Hochschule fr Music. He befriended the renowned conductor and composer, Paul Kletzky, and dedicated him and to the Israel PO his Israel Sketches , a piece that will be preformed by the orchestra during its 2003/4 season. In 1924 he traveled to Vienna to study with Prof. Hans Gבl and with A. Rozsa. With these teachers he studied both conducting and composition. Kaminski returned to Berlin and began to perform as a concert soloist. He was widely acclaimed by the German press. In 1926, after the death of his mother, Esther Rachel Kaminska, who was dubbed the Mother of Yiddish Theatre, Kaminski returned to Warsaw and was appointed the conductor of the Jewish Theatre Orchestra, under the administration of his sister, Ida Kaminska. During this period, as his acclaim as a gifted composer grew, he wrote primarily theatrical music for the Jewish Theatre and the Vilna Company, and songs based on German lyrics. He founded the Warsaw Quartet (which he managed and lead), a quartet that successfully held numerous performances. In 1934, the Warsaw Quartet won the prestigious Pilsudski Prize as the best ensemble in Poland. After winning the prize, the new Warsaw Radio Orchestra accepted the quartet, and Kaminski became the head violinist, despite the ranting of the anti-Semitic press. During this period he often performed as a soloist and played the first performance of the Violin Sonata by Morris Ravel, who was present this performance. In 1937, he was invited by Bronislav Huberman to join the Palestine Orchestra (today Israel PO) as the lead violinist, a position he maintained until his retirement in 1969, as well as guest soloist and conductor. In addition, he founded a quartet that regularly performed throughout the country. Kaminiski had a special contract with Habima Theatre and composed music for their plays, such as Tale of a Prince, and many more. In 1939 he composed the piece Fable and Dance for a string quartet, a piece based primarily on Hasidic melodies. In 1940, Kaminiski composed the Concertino for trumpet and SO. This work is very unique and is regularly performed throughout the world. The piece was dedicated to the trumpet player Kצnigsberg and premiered at the Philharmonic, conducted by the composer. In 1942, Kaminski composed a piece named Aliyah (Immigration), six variations on the theme of Maoz Tzur, each characterizing the immigration from a different country. The sixth variation, a funeral march is played in memory of the victims of Holocaust. But at the very end a voice bursts forth (baritone soloist), singing the wonderful verses by Yehudah HaLevy “Zion, will thou not ask the welfare of thine prisoners”. In 1943, Kaminski composed the Ballad for harp and orchestra, a piece very successful in Europe and the US. In 1945, Kaminski composed the String Quartet, which won the Engel Prize. From 1947 to 1949, during the War of Independence, Kaminski composed the Concerto for violin and orchestra, awarded the Engel Prize in 1950. In 1958, the Philharmonic Orchestra performed the Israel Sketches during its tour in the US and the Far East. In 1960, the Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned a piece with Israeli character for their performances in the United States. Kaminski composed the Symphonic Overture for SO, which won the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Prize. Joseph Kaminski died in 1972.