Leon Algazi

Composer, Conductor and Professor

Composer Leon Algazi was born in Iepuresti, Romania in 1890. He studied music in Vienna and Paris and graduated from the Ecole Rabbinique in France. His first teaching post was at the Ecole de Liturgie et de Pedagogie in Paris, a position he held for many years. His interest in Jewish music and folklore was sparked by early studies with musicologist Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. One of his first projects in the field was a nationally aired radio program that dealt with a wide range of topics in Jewish music. In 1937 he took a position as the conductor at the grand Rue de la Victoire Synagogue in Paris. Algazi helped to establish the “Mizmor” section of the Salabert publishing house, under which he released many of his compositions such as Quatre Mélodies Judéo-Espagnoles and Psaume XXVII. In 1958 he published an important collection of Sephardic folk songs and texts, Chants Séphardis, under the auspices of the World Sephardi Federation in London. In addition to his other teaching commitments he worked as a professor of Jewish music at the Schola Cantorum, and finally in 1961 was appointed the director of the Temples of the Paris Consistoire.