Joel Walbe was born in Shepetovka, Volhynia (today Ukraine). As a boy, his education was standard for wealthy Jewish families in Russia. He first studied Torah in the Heder, and then proceeded to general studies with private teachers.
Moses Michael Milner was born in Rokitno, Ukraine. He sang with famous cantors in Kiev, later studying music in Kiev and in St. Petersburg, where he participated in the founding of the Society for Jewish Folk Music (1908). He composed many works based on Jewish themes, as well as Jewish liturgical works. Apart from Jewish music, Milner wrote choral and orchestral works, operas, piano pieces, songs and incidental theater music.