A City Haphazard: Jewish Musicians in Los Angeles, 1887-1927


Friedmann, Jonathan L.


Professor, Academy for Jewish Religion, California

A City Haphazard covers a crucial but overlooked period of music history and Jewish life in Los Angeles through five case studies of nearly forgotten musicians. The shaky period between 1887 and 1927 had its share of ups and downs, successes and failures, milestones and growing pains. In their own ways, large and small, Leopold M. Loeb, Alfred Arndt, Victor Rosenstein, Abraham Frankum Frankenstein, and Walter Henry Rothwell helped lay the difficult groundwork for what would become a musical Mecca and home to the country’s second largest Jewish population.

The action unfolds in the early period of Jewish Los Angeles. It begins in 1887 with the arrival of Leopold M. Loeb, the city’s first permanent synagogue organist, and ends in 1927 with the untimely death of Walter Henry Rothwell, the first conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Jewish institutions were just finding their footing, and the music scene, both Jewish and non-Jewish, was but a faint glimmer of what its future would hold. Throughout this forty-year period, synagogues struggled to secure capable music leaders, and popular and concert music mostly flew under the national radar. The chapters look at what happened before the birth of the “Hollywood sound” and other twentieth-century developments. The disorganization of musical life led Bruno David Ussher, the Los Angeles reporter for the San Francisco-based Pacific Coast Musical Review, to call it a “city haphazard.”

Jewish Studies, Jewish History, American Studies, American History, Music, Music History, Cultural Studies, Performing Arts, Cinema, California Studies, Hollywood, Leopold Loeb, Walter Henry Rothwell, Immigration Studies, Los Angeles, Southern California, Civil Society
Release Date: 
July 15, 2017
Hardcover: 978-1680530360
Trim Size: 

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