Moshe Wilensky

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Moshe Wilensky
Born17 April 1910
Died2 January 1997 (1997-01-03) (aged 86)
Alma materWarsaw Conservatory
Notable workSongs: "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")
AwardsIsrael Prize
Moshe Wilensky playing piano, entertaining people in DP camps in Cyprus (ca. 1947–48)

Moshe Wilensky (Hebrew: משה וילנסקי, also, "Vilensky"; 17 April 1910 – 2 January 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]


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] Wilensky died in 1997.[9]

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.[10] 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 children's tunes, writing nearly 1,500 songs in his lifetime.[1][3][4][11][12] 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][13][14][15] 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, which Wilensky hosted, with his song "Autumn".[16]

In 1983, Wilensky was awarded the Israel Prize, for Hebrew song (melody).[1][17] In 1990, a special concert in honor of his 80th birthday was given by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.[6] In 1998, the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel (ACUM) named its Song of the Year Award the "Moshe Wilensky Prize".[18]

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. Jewish Publication Society. ISBN 9780827610279. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Harry Schneiderman, Itzhak J. Carmin (1978). Who's who in world Jewry. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  9. ^ "Composer Moshe Wilenski dead at 86". The Associated Press. 3 January 1997. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  10. ^ Handelzalts, Michael (July 22, 2011). "In the shadow of the cannons". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  11. ^ Amy Kronish, Costel Safirman (2003). Israeli film: a reference guide. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9780313321443. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  12. ^ Oliver Leaman (2001). Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780203426494. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  13. ^ Selwyn Ilan Troen, Noah Lucas (1995). Israel: the first decade of independence. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791422595. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  14. ^ Zohar, Itamar (August 20, 2010). "Sublime experience". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  15. ^ Jack Gottlieb (2004). Funny, it doesn't sound Jewish: how Yiddish songs and synagogue melodies influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780844411309. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  16. ^ Handelzalts, Michael (June 7, 2007). "Comfortable in her own skin". Haaretz. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  17. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site – Recipients in 1983 (in Hebrew)".
  18. ^ Helen Kaye (January 1, 1998). "And the winners are ..." The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 31, 2011.

External links[edit]