Moshe Wilensky

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Moshe Wilensky
Moshe Wilensky (cropped).jpg
Born April 17, 1910
Warsaw, Poland
Died January 2, 1997
Nationality Polish
later Israeli
Alma mater Warsaw Conservatory
Notable work Songs: "Kalaniyot" ("Anemones"), "Hayu Zmanim" ("In Those Times)", "Autumn," "Ring Twice and Wait," "Each Day I Lose," "The Last Battle", and "Mul Har Sinai" ("Opposite Mt. Sinai")
Awards Israel Prize
Moshe Wilensky playing piano, entertaining people in DP camps in Cyprus (ca. 1947–48)

Moshe Wilensky (Hebrew: משה וילנסקי‎, also, "Vilensky"; April 17, 1910 – January 2, 1997) was a Polish-Israeli composer, lyricist, and pianist.[1][2][3][4] He is considered a "pioneer of Israeli song" and one of Israel's leading composers, and was a winner of the Israel Prize, the state's highest honor.[5][6]

Early life[edit]

Wilensky, who was Jewish, was born in Warsaw, Poland, the son of Zelig and Henia (née Liebman).[1][7][8] He studied music at the Warsaw Conservatory in Warsaw, specializing in conducting and composition, and immigrated to Palestine in 1932.[1][4][7] He married Bertha Yakimovska in 1939.[8]

Music career[edit]

A pianist and composer, Wilensky wrote music for theaters and musical troupes of the Israel Defense Forces, including the Nahal choir in the 1950s.[9] He worked with the Kol Yisrael orchestra.[1]

Wilensky's music combines Slavic music and Eastern music.[1] He composed for films, plays, hora dances, cabaret songs, and nursery children's tunes, writing nearly 1,500 songs in his lifetime.[1][3][4][10][11] Among his songs are "Kalaniyot" ("Anemones"), "Hayu Zmanim" ("In Those Times)", "Autumn," "Ring Twice and Wait," "Each Day I Lose," "The Last Battle", and "Mul Har Sinai" ("Opposite Mt. Sinai").[1][2][6][12][13][14] He wrote music for many of Natan Alterman's poems.[1] In 1962, Israeli Esther Reichstadt won second prize at the Polish international song festival with Wilensky's song "Autumn".[15]

In 1983, Wilensky was awarded the Israel Prize, for Hebrew song (melody).[1][16] In 1990, a special concert in honor of his 80th birthday was given by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.[6] In 1998, the Israel Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ACUM) named its Song of the Year Award the "Moshe Wilensky Prize".[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Moshe Vilensky". Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Dan Baron (February 23, 2006). "Shoshana Damari, 83". The Jewish Exponent. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Penn, Lea (July 22, 2011). "All keyed up". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Hirschfeld, Ariel (July 30, 2010). "All hail the king". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  5. ^ Schweitzer, Erez (July 22, 2011). "And the twain shall meet". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Michael Ajsenstadt (January 5, 2000). "Moshe Wilensky – shaping the national soul". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Marsha Bryan Edelman (2003). Discovering Jewish music. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Harry Schneiderman, Itzhak J. Carmin (1978). Who's who in world Jewry. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  9. ^ Handelzalts, Michael (July 22, 2011). "In the shadow of the cannons". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  10. ^ Amy Kronish, Costel Safirman (2003). Israeli film: a reference guide. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  11. ^ Oliver Leaman (2001). Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ Selwyn Ilan Troen, Noah Lucas (1995). Israel: the first decade of independence. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  13. ^ Zohar, Itamar (August 20, 2010). "Sublime experience". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  14. ^ Jack Gottlieb (2004). Funny, it doesn't sound Jewish: how Yiddish songs and synagogue melodies influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood. SUNY Press. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  15. ^ Handelzalts, Michael (June 7, 2007). "Comfortable in her own skin". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site – Recipients in 1983 (in Hebrew)". 
  17. ^ Helen Kaye (January 1, 1998). "And the winners are ..." The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 

External links[edit]