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Moshe Wilensky
Moshe Wilensky, from the Moshe Wilensky Archive, The National Library of Israel

Moshe Wilensky

Moshe Wilensky, one of the Hebrew Song's most salient and influential figures, and a pioneer of popular Israeli symphonic music, composed hundreds of songs written by some of Israel's greatest poets and songwriters, for the theater and stage, military bands, popular bands, and the foremost singers in the Country.

Wilensky's compositional works spanned generations, evolving alongside developing and emerging musical styles, in a career that lasted over sixty years. His compositions have become an inseparable part of Israel's collective soundtrack.

Discover Moshe Wilensky's oeuvre through the songs, manuscripts, interviews, photographs, documents and articles – all from Moshe Wilensky's personal archive, donated to the Music Department of the National Library by Moshe Wilensky and his wife, Berta Wilensky.

About Moshe Wilensky

Moshe Wilensky was born on April 18, 1910 in Warsaw, Poland. With the outbreak of WWI, his family immigrated to the town of Mazyr in Russia, returning to Warsaw in 1917. Wilensky attended the Jewish secondary school “Ascala”, where the language of instruction was Polish. Apart from general studies (where he excelled as an amateur painter) Wilensky also studied Hebrew, Bible, and Jewish history. Wilensky completed his required studies in 1928.

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The Moshe Wilensky Archive

The Moshe Wilensky Archive is one of over 250 personal archives housed at the Music Department. The archives encompass Israeli and Jewish composers from the world over, who created religious and art music and Hebrew Folksong. The archives of musicians and musicologists can also be found among the collection. The archives were donated to the National Library by the artists and researchers themselves, as well as by their family members, and following a process of preservation and cataloging, are safeguarded in the Music Department at the National Library in Jerusalem.

The Moshe Wilensky Archive, number MUS 069 in the Music Department, was donated to the National Library by the composer in 1991. His widow, Berta Wilensky, completed the collection in 1997. The archive includes Wilensky's original scores to hundreds of songs that he composed over the course of his 60-year career. These include Kalanio, Hayu Zmanim, Ya Mishlati, Rachel Rachel, Tzarich Letzaltzel Pa'amyim, Mul Har Sinai, Kita Almonit, Stav, Bechol Zot Yesh Ba Mashe'hu, Kesheha'yinu Yeladim, Zohi Yafo, Ani Mitzfat, Doda Hagidi Lanu Ken, Tango Kfar Saba, Venezuela, Limon Vetzalachat and many more songs that became inalienable assets of the Hebrew Folksong, as well as part of the Israeli soundtrack over the course of the country's first 40 years. The archive also includes the composer's original arrangements and adaptations for his own songs and for songs by others, photographs, letters, notebooks, journals, documents, programs, posters, and newspaper clippings including critiques, articles, and interviews. Many recordings of his songs can also be found in the Music Department's Sound Archive.

The Moshe Wilensky Archive in the Music Department at the National Library of Israel (Photo: Hanan Cohen)

The Moshe Wilensky Archive in the Music Department at the National Library of Israel (Photo: Hanan Cohen)

Wilensky with Prominent Israeli Artists