Joseph Achron

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Joseph Yulyevich Achron, also seen as Akhron (Russian: Иосиф Юльевич Ахрон) (May 13, 1886April 29, 1943) was a Russian composer and violinist of Jewish origin, settled in USA. His preoccupation with Jewish elements and his desire to develop a 'Jewish' harmonic and contrapuntal idiom, underscored and informed much of his work. His friend the composer Arnold Schönberg described Achron in his obituary as "one of the most underrated modern composers".

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Biography

Achron was born in Lozdzieje, Russian Empire (now Lazdijai, Lithuania) and began the study of the violin under his father, an amateur violinist, at the age of five. His first public performance followed three years later at age seven in Warsaw. This was followed by a prodigious childhood career including performances throughout Russia. Between 1899 and 1904 he studied violin under legendary teacher Leopold Auer and composition under Anatoly Ljadov, at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg.

He joined the Society for Jewish Folk Music (formed in 1908) in 1911 and from that point occupied himself in theory and practice with the Jewish music tradition. His first 'Jewish' work ’’Hebrew Melody’’ became immediately recognised through the interpretation of violinist Jascha Heifetz. In 1913 Achron became the head of the violin and chamber music departments at the Kharkiv...
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