Frederick Jacobi

Jacobi was one of the founders of the U.S. League of Composers in 1923 and served on the American board of the International Society for Contemporary Music in the 1920s and 1930s. His compositions were played by leading orchestras across the country, from A California Suite (San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, 1917) to his Serenade for Piano and Orchestra (Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1952). The Austrian section of the ISCM gave a special performance of Jacobi's works at the ISCM Congress in Vienna in 1932.

"Frederick Jacobi and Herman Voaden: The Prodigal Son" is a study of the collaboration during 1942-44 between Jacobi and the Canadian playwright on the opera The Prodigal Son. Jacobi had been inspired to compose the opera by four early 19th-century American lithographs that visualized the Biblical story in an American setting and asked Voaden to write the libretto. This study presents an inside account of the writing and composing of the opera, the history of concert and stage presentations in the U.S., London and Toronto over the subsequent decade, and how it might be staged today.

The website ( discusses the rise of a distinct indigenous American music in the early 1920s, the critical climate of the period, the question of nationalism in music, and how Jacobi expressed his Jewish heritage in his compositions. The site also features a complete chronology and discography of Jacobi's 100 works, 50 photographs and the complete text of Voaden's opera libretto for The Prodigal Son.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1930-1931 Sabbath Evening Service 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Mason, Patrick-Baritone
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Choir cond. Joseph Cullen
1932 Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Alban Gerhardt - cello
Barcelona Symphony/National Orchestra of Catalonia cond. Karl Anton Rickenbacher
1938 Hagiographa 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Krinke, Brian - Violin,
Yang, Perrin - Violin,
Taylor, George - Viola,
Reuss, Stefan - Cello,
Werner, Joseph - Piano
1945 Ahavat olam 4.00 out of 5 stars CD

Cantor Robert Bloch
New York Cantorial Choir cond. Samuel Adler

1946 Two Pieces in Sabbath Mood 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Samuel Adler