Modest Altschuler

Cellist, Film music contributor

1873 – 1963

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Who was Modest Altschuler?

Modest Altschuler was a cellist, orchestral conductor, and composer.

He was born in Mogilev, then part of the Russian Empire, now in Belarus. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory and emigrated to the United States in 1893.

In 1903 Altschuler organized the Russian Symphony Orchestra Society of New York, which for two decades toured the United States featuring performances and compositions by leading contemporary Russians. Among the Orchestra's notable premieres were Sergei Prokofiev Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major, Op. 10, which was performed at Carnegie Hall in New York on December 10, 1918 and Mussorgsky's Prelude to Khovanshchina, which Altschuler presented at Carnegie Hall on February 25, 1905. The Orchestra was among the first established orchestral ensembles to record for the gramophone; Columbia discs of short pieces by Tchaikovsky, Eduard Lassen and others date from about 1910. Nathaniel Shilkret, a member of the Orchestra, notes in his autobiography that soloists in the Orchestra included Mischa Elman, Josef Lhevinne, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Vassily Safanov. Shilkret also noted that the Orchestra "played for the great ballerina Pavlova and her partner Mordkin [1910]."

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Feb 15, 1873
Also known as
  • Modest (Moisei Isaacovich) Altschuler
  • Moisei Isaacovich
  • Russia
Sep 12, 1963
Los Angeles

on July 23, 2013


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