Leo Low was one of the most prominent conductors of Jewish choruses in his era and the most celebrated champion of the Yiddish folk choral art in Europe and America. Born in Volkovysk, in the Grodno province of Russian Poland, he graduated from the Warsaw Conservatory in 1900. In 1908 he became choirmaster of Warsaw’s culturally sophisticated Tłomacki Synagogue, where he also functioned as resident composer/arranger. Appointed to direct Warsaw’s Hazomir Choral Society—Europe’s most prestigious Jewish secular chorus—Low became the chief musical force within Warsaw’s exciting Jewish cultural renaissance and introduced a powerful Yiddish folksong element into Hazomir’s perspective. He immigrated to the United States in 1920 and became director of the The Patterson, New Jersey Choral Society and of the National Workers Farband Choir, the socialist/labor-oriented chorus in New York. He composed important Yiddish choral and solo settings and was equally involved with writing for the synagogue.
By: Neil W. Levin