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Max Leibowitz (Yiddish: מאקס לײבאװיטש) (born c.1884 in Iași, Romania, died 1942, Bronx, New York City) was an American klezmer violinist, composer and bandleader in New York City primarily in the 1910s and 1920s.
Very little biographical information has been published about Leibowitz. Copyright listings from the 1920s note that he was born in Romania and was living in New York City. According to the 1920 United States Census, he was born in Romania in 1884, emigrated to the United States in 1905, and was married to Sarah Leibowitz, also from Romania. It lists 3 children: Isadore (age 12), Molly (age 9) and Albert (newborn). And according to a declaration of intention Max made in 1919, he was born on June 6, 1884, and had arrived to the United States on September 1, 1905 on the Pretoria.
He was a contemporary of other Romanian-born klezmer bandleaders in the New York City area that included Abe Schwartz, Abe Katzman, and Milu Lemisch. He is listed as composer of some Yiddish songs recorded in the early twentieth century, such as Der yold is mich mekone ("The fool envies me.") and Es iz shoin farfallen. Irene Heskes, compiler of Yiddish popular music listings, lists Leibowitz as part of a large cohort of "Jewish bandsmen" such as Naftule Brandwein, Dave Tarras, Harry Kandel and others who "fashioned unique qualities for the Jewish dance tunes in America" during that era.
Leibowitz was recorded playing violin accompanied by cimbalom, a highly traditional pairing in Eastern Europe, but one which was only rarely recorded in American Jewish music. Those recordings were made with the cimbalom player "Silver", who may be Jacob Silber (1882-1952), who otherwise played percussion in Leibowitz's and other klezmer orchestras, as well as the xylophone in later years.
- U.S. Government Printing Office (1920). "Polish Oberek No.1". Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions. Part 3, Volume 15, Issue 1: 917.
- "Max Leibowitz, United States Census, 1920". FamilySearch. Retrieved 10 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- [ancestry.com "Max Leibowitz, Declaration of Intention"] Check
|url=value (help). Ancestry. Retrieved 10 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Feldman, Walter Zev (2016). Klezmer : music, history and memory. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 279. ISBN 9780190244514.
- "Der yold is mich mekone". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.
- "Es iz shoin farfallen and Simches Torah chusid'l". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.
- Heskes, Irene (1992). Yiddish American popular songs, 1895 to 1950 : a catalog based on the Lawrence Marwick roster of copyright entries. Washington DC: Library of Congress. pp. xxxiv–xxxv. ISBN 0844407453.
- Feldman, Walter Zev (2016). Klezmer : music, history and memory. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 103. ISBN 9780190244514.
- Wollock, Jeffrey (2007). "Historic Records as Historical Records: Hersh Gross and His Boiberiker Kapelye (1927-1932)". ARSC Journal. 38 (1): 60.
- "Max Liebowitz New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949". Retrieved 10 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "אידישער טאַנץ". search.library.wisc.edu.
- "Tanzt, Tanzt, Yiddelach/Beim Rebeh's Sideh". rsa.fau.edu.
- "Orientalishe Melodien". rsa.fau.edu.
- "Yiddisher Bulgar/Der Galitzianer Chosid". rsa.fau.edu.
- "Russian Sher Quadril/Mazel Tov". rsa.fau.edu.
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