Frankel, Joseph (Lt) (1885-1953)

logo bio Joseph Frankel

Biography compiled by Patrick Berman

Joseph Frankel was born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine). A Kiev Conservatory trained bandmaster and a band leader in the Tzarist army, he toured the US in 1904 leading the 14th Regiment Military Band.

In the early 1910s he led theatre orchestras in New York. When WW1 started Joseph Frankel was touring South America with a Russian Symphony orchestra. He took US citizenship and became a band leader in the US army.

After the war he recorded traditional tunes as well as his own contemporary compositions including ’Yiddishe Blues’.

“Yiddishe Blues” was a 1918 experiment by Joseph Frankel. The piece blends ragtime sensibility in its instrumentation and syncopation, a klezmer melodic line with “Mi Shebeyrekh” in cantorial mode.

By insisting on including the rank of “Lieutenant” in his name, Lieutenant Joseph Frankel sends a strong signal that he belongs to the American nation without ever denying his connection to the Jewish people.

Today, many klezmer groups are taking up his work of musical hybridization.

Learn more

Documents joints

0:00
0:00

You may also like

Tsuzamen – Sirba Octet

This album is a formidable testimony of hope: the hope of the Jews, the Armenians, the gypsies whose repertoires the…

Jacinta Collection

Deposited at the EIJM in May 2022 by the artist, Jacinta's collection includes some forty photographies, from her youth in…

Jacinta, between Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish songs and tango

In the series " Life courses ", discover the attaching personality of Jacinta, an artist of Argentinian origin who also…

Jacinta, a life in song

Discover a selection of Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish, Argentinean and French songs by Jacinta, an artist with a golden voice