Lazare Saminsky (1882-1959) had already studied Mathematics and Philosophy when he started his professional musical education - at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg with Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov and Anatoly Ljadov. In 1908 Saminsky was co-founder of the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music. With a temperament typical for him he defended the importance of the old synagogue music in public discussions, articles and lectures. He regarded this music as an authentic part of Jewish music tradition and as a substantial basis for new Jewish music. His views were confirmed on his expeditions into the Caucasus (1913) where he researched the two and a half thousand year old liturgical music of the Jews.
In the years 1919-1920 Saminsky emigrated via Jerusalem, Paris and London to New York, which became his adoptive country. In the years that followed, his name became famous internationally. He was co-founder and chairman of the American League of Composers and had a brilliant career as a conductor. In 1925 he became musical director of New York's largest synagogue, the Temple Emanu-El, which thanks to Saminsky's artistic function evolved to a renowned center for Jewish music.