MARAGOWSKY, JACOB SAMUEL (Zeidel Rowner), cantor, born
Radomyshl ,Kiev gubernia,
Russia, 1856. In 1942 he was living in New York city. Maragowsky became
one of the best-known East European cantors of the 19th and early 20th
centuries. Upon the death of his father he was adopted by the local
cantor, who supervised his musical and Hebrew education. With the
encouragement of Jacob Isaac Twersky, rabbi of Makarow, young Zeidel
began his cantoral career. For five years he officiated on High Holidays
in Kiev. In 1881 he became cantor in Zaslav, the following year in
Rovno, and in 1885 was engaged in Kishinev as successor of the noted
cantor Nisen Belzer Spivak. In 1896 he was called to the important
position of cantor in Berdichev, serving for seven years. Other great
positions followed, in London and in Lemberg, and finally in Rovno, the
place with which his name is associated.
Due to persecutions in Czarist Russia, Maragowsky came to the United States in 1914, making his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, but his functions as cantor were infrequent thereafter. His great popularity may be attributed to innate melodic inventiveness which characterizes his prolific compositions. Gifted with a flexible, fine lyric tenor voice, and influenced by Hasidic as well as secular band music, he and his choirs achieved striking instrumentel effects and arresting modulations. Their many tours found enthusiastic listeners through-out Eastern Europe. Among his pupils were Mordecai Hershman, David Roitman, I. Breeh, J.Rapoport and D.M. Steinberg.