Max Spicker was born in Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), and pursued his musical studies at the conservatory in Leipzig. He was an opera conductor and theatrical music director in Heidelberg, Köln (Cologne), Potsdam (at the Royal Theater), and Hamburg. After immigrating to America, he directed the Beethoven Männerchor (male chorus) in New York for a few years in the 1880s. He was appointed organist and choir director at Temple Emanu-El in New York in 1891, where he and Cantor William Sparger functioned as a team for the congregation’s overall music program and in composing, editing, and publishing synagogue music. Until 1895 he also served as director of the Brooklyn Conservatory and taught music privately.
Spicker collaborated with Cantor Sparger on a two-part collection of liturgical settings, that included several of his own compositions as well as many by others. In addition, he and Sparger collaborated on arranging and composing various individually published settings, and he wrote and published a few synagogue anthems on his own.