Glens Falls in 1919 — Russian Symphony Orchestra at Christ Church
The Glens Falls YMCA brought the Russian Symphony Orchestra to the city a century ago.
The orchestra performed on Jan. 16, 1919 at Christ Church Methodist, the largest public assembly space in the city at the time.
“It is probably one of the largest orchestras ever heard in the city,” The Post-Star reported in a concert preview on Jan. 10, 1919.
Cellist and conductor Modest Altschuler organized the orchestra, based in New York City, in 1903, according to website stokowski.org.
Members primarily were Jewish musicians that fled Russia and Poland to escape anti-Semitic violence.
Morris Krichner was principal bassoonist in 1919.
Philip Kirchner, brother of Morris, played oboe in the orchestra.
The two brothers joined the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra for the 1919–20 season, Morris was principal bassoonist from 1920 — ’29 and Philip principal oboist from 1919 — ’47, according to stokowski.org.
The Post-Star said it was “a national satisfaction” that the Russian Symphony Orchestra was one of the few in North America that performed year round.
This may have been of financial necessity, as the orchestra reportedly relied on collections at concert intermissions.
The Glens Falls concert was part of a traveling schedule that included Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Ravena Park, Mich., Chatauqua Lake, NY, and Winoa Lake, Ind.