Lustig Moshe

Lustig Moshe Moshe Lustig was born in Liegnitz, Germany in 1922 and started playing the piano at the age of five. When he was six years old he composed the music and libretto for an opera “The Thumbling”. He then studied piano and theory of music at the renowned Berlin Stern-Conservatoire, where he was granted a scholarship and soon won the reputation as a child prodigy.

At the age of ten he emigrated with his parents to Palestine. Here he continued studying the piano with Alexander Buch, took lessons in conducting with Michael Taube, and composition with Paul Ben-Haim and later with Erich Walter Sternberg.

At seventeen Lustig started studying the French horn with Horst Salomon, on a scholarship from the Palestine Broadcasting Orchestra; two years later he joined the orchestra of the Palestine Broadcasting Service in Jerusalem as second horn player. He soon became well-known for his manifold musical activities as pianist, conductor, accompanist, composer and arranger of music. His highly successful appearances as soloist with the P.B.S. Orchestra won him general acclaim. He accompanied a great number of artists and conducted the P.B.S. Choral Society. About the same time he founded the P.B.S. Wind-Ensemble, acting as its conductor as well as writing and arranging new repertoire. Other compositions of that period included numerous pieces for piano, a sonata for violin and piano, and the orchestral fantasy “Kinereth” (1945), for which he was awarded a special prize by the Israel Broadcasting Authority – Kol Israel.

In 1948, he moved to Tel Aviv, where he worked with ”Kol Israel” and continued his many-sided musical activities, accompanied artists for radio programs, played in broadcast recitals, produced numerous musical programs and wrote arrangements of folksongs and folkdance music for a variety of instruments. Apart from his activity for “Kol Israel” he achieved a reputation as a splendid chamber music artist, appearing with various ensembles throughout Israel. He became especially renowned as Israel’s top-ranking piano accompanist, appearing with world-famous guest artists such as Tossi Spiwakowsky, Ida Hendel, Ossy Renardi, Arthur Grumiaux, Theo Olof, Maurice Gendron, Paul Tortelier, André Navarra, Mattiwilda Dobbs, Richard Tucker and many others. Accepting an invitation from Ida Hendel, he went to Italy for a country-wide recital tour.

During his last years he often played the piano part in concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and took part in the performance of Kabalewsky’s 4th Symphony under Dimitri Mitropoulos. He won numerous prizes, including the “KOL Zion Lagola Prize”, and the “Milo Club Prize” (1957).

Among his compositions are a Concertino for Harp and String-Quartet (after a Piano-Sonata by Mozart); a Sonata and Sonatine for Harp (1941); Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1938); Sonata for Cello and Piano (1955); Scherzo for Wind-Instruments and Percussion (1950); Sextet for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Viola and Cello; works for chorus; a Concerto for Violin (of which he completed only the first movement, in 1958); and many piano pieces. He also wrote the music to the Pantomime ‘Jeptha’s Daughter’ for ‘Scopus Films’ (1956) and the music for the French comedy ‘The Thieves’ Carnival’ for the ‘Habimah’ Theatre.

Lustig was a highly gifted and versatile arranger of classical music for numerous combinations. Among his hundreds of arrangements for the Israel Radio and others, many were traditional Israeli melodies adapted for classical instruments. He referred to them as free arrangements, to the extent that they often became new musical works in their own right.

He died on the 18th of September 1958, from an illness that had undermined his health for many years.

D. Lustig

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