Issachar Miron-Michrovsky

Composer, writer & educator

Portrayed by Readers' Digest as "a top ranking composer;" in Christian Science Monitor as, "a leading Israeli educator and composer;" in Variety, "as one of the top composers;” and by Ascap Today as, "a major force in today's liturgical music." Issachar Miron has made a name for himself throughout the world as a top talent, composer, poet, writer, creative mind, and a master craftsman.

He was born in Kutno, Poland, in 5.7.1920. Miron's mother, Haya Helen Elbaum-Michrowski, an accomplished amateur pianist, died in the bloom of her life in 1927 at the age of thirty-six years old, when Issachar was 7 years old. His father, Shlomo Michrowski, an owner of a local department store, a rabbi, and a violinist by education, endured inhuman suffering in the winter of 1941 in the Kutno ghetto with other members, and relatives of his family and alongside some 7,000 other Kutno Jews. This short-lived ghetto became instantly a freezing inferno of disease, starvation and corroding degradation. In March 1942, virtually all Jews of Kutno perished in Chelmno: the first Nazi death camp of the “final solution of the Jewish question.” Their holy remains were buried in the nearby Rzuzowski Forrest in ditches they were forced to dig prior to being bumped into the death-poison vans. There are no survivors to tell us their unutterable story.  May their memory be blessed forever and their martyrdom live on as the never-to-be-forgotten testimony of this most horrible crime of crimes.

After his discharge from the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, where Issachar Miron served during War II, he settled in Palestine. There he made every possible effort to broaden his Polish BA and MA education by constantly taking numerous courses and private lessons. When the State of Israel was established he was named the National Deputy Director of Music for Israel's Ministry of Education and Culture. He served as the National Officer-in-Chief of Art and Music programs for the Israeli Defense Army, where he introduced his concept of “integration through singing” for soldiers from different countries and cultures, which was portrayed in an article by Oscar Schisgall entitled “The Sound of Singing in Israel” (May 1961, Readers Digest). In the United States, he has served as Chairman of Music Faculty of the Jewish Teachers Seminary and at the Herzliah Teachers Institute in New York City.

He is an ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award winner for creative writing, and a winner of the Israel Engel Prize for Music. The American musicologist Dr. Rudolf Ganz included in his revision of the Hutcheson's Literature of Piano, and his Clavier treatise "Contemporary Piano Masterpieces," two of Miron's works: Syncopated Preludes and Passacaglia for Moderns, highly commended by Artur Rubinstein, and recorded by the leading Israeli pianist Frank Peleg. His CD, I Remember, which contains 6 poems for cello and piano, has been recorded by Jasha Silberstein, the principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera with Tsipora Miron, piano, and was released by the Musical Heritage Society Inc. under the direction of Dr. Michael Naida.

His popular compositions, songs, film and video scores, signature tunes, and instrumental work include the international mega hit "Tzena Tzena" with Hebrew words by Yehiel Hagiz, and English words by Gordon Jenkins. He composed "Tzena Tzena" in the British Army and it was initially popularized by The Weavers with Pete Seeger on banjo, followed by other major performers such as Bing Crosby and Judy Garland, the guitarist Chet Atkins, the singers Arlo Guthrie, Vic Damone, Connie Francis, Chubby Checker, Eartha Kitt, The Smothers Brothers, Neil Sedaka, The Metropolitan Opera singers Richard TuckerJan Peerce, Misha Raitzin, Roberta Peters, The London Symphony, Mantovani Strings, and others of similar distinction. He has been the recipient of some coveted professional distinctions for music, scripts, and direction, which include multiple Gold and Silver Medals of the International Film and Television Festivals of New York.

Robert Sherman of the New York Times radio station WQXR described Miron's work in the rejuvenation of the instrumental Klezmer music as a "marvelous achievement."  His Klezmer music is represented among others on 2 CDs “The Art of the Klezmer” recorded by a leading clarinet virtuoso, Giora Feidman with his Trio, and orchestra conducted by Issachar Miron. He is a laureate of the Cantors Assembly of America KAVOD AWARD for his “immense contributions to Jewish liturgical music” and a winner of multiple prizes for poetry. The Musical Heritage released his 4 liturgical cantatas for children choir and orchestra.

His coast-to-coast telecast Golden Gates of Joy Oratorio, and the Cantata Song of Esther with lyrics and libretto by Abraham Soltes, have been performed by the Ray Charles Singers over 300 CBS affiliated TV stations, and have been chosen by CBS for international syndication because of "an extraordinary listeners' response."  His song "Ufi Ruach" with words by Aaron Ashman became the first Hebrew song to be broadcast on Egyptian radio, in the aftermath of 1977 peace talks of Anwar Sadat president of Egypt with Menachem Begin, prime minister of Israel in Jerusalem. He scripted, composed, directed for the National United Jewish Appeal numerous inspirational radio, TV programs and prize-winning films, videos and multi-media shows, concerts, and full-fledged musical and dramatic shows that played in the 70's and 80's around the country before the largest American Jewish audiences in history. In the 60s he became the Music Director of America-Israel Cultural Foundation in Israel and in the U.S.A.

Professor Miron served as  dean of the music faculty of the Jewish Teachers Seminary of New York [now Touro University], whose academic roster of luminaries included Sholom Secunda, David Kusevitsky, Lazar WeinerAbraham Binder, and Sidor Belarsky.

His book, "Eighteen Gates of Jewish Holidays and Festivals", includes an introduction by Elie Wiesel, an  epilogue by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, and another introduction titled, “From My Angle” by Israeli poet-laureate Haim Hefer. The book features a wealth of contemporary poetic meditations, music and prayers. The Jewish Book Club selected it as its Main Selection. According to Eli Wiesel “There are poetic alliterations in his music and musical resonances in his poetry, brightening his personal voyage of discovery into Jewish holy days with passion, warmth and wit.” 

During the seventies Issachar Miron arranged and recorded underground Jewish, protest songs from USSR entitled "Silent No More," in collaboration with Theodore Bikel, choir, and orchestra. The proceeds went to "The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Bikel / Miron Scholarship Fundfor students from former Soviet Union, and from other countries.

In 2000 ASCAP honored him “in recognition of his manifold achievements as composer, author, educator and distinguished international citizen.” He lived for many years in New York, N.Y., with his wife Tsipora, who was a concert pianist and musicologist, formerly on the Music faculty of the Music Academy in Tel Aviv, Israel. They have 3 daughters: Ruth, a concert pianist, married to Dr. Michael Schleider; Shlomit a social worker, married to Itzik Aviram; and Miriam, a lawyer, married to Chet Lipton. They have six grandchildren: Jennifer Cubell, Jeffrey Schleider, Scott Sholem, Julie Sholem, Zack Lipton and Gabrielle Lipton.

Issachar Miron is listed in Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem), Who's Who in the East (U.S.A.), Who's Who in Israel, Who's Who in ASCAP, Who's Who in ACUM, AGAC Directory, Who's Who in World Jewry, theInternational Platform Association Directory U.S.A., The New Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, etc.

Written by Issachar Miron-Michrovsky