Andor Izsák - Andor Izsák

Andor Izsák (right) with Elli Jaffe, General Music Director of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem , here in 2013 in front of the organ in the great hall of the Villa Seligmann

Andor Izsák (born July 6, 1944 in Budapest ) is a Hungarian organist , musicologist and conductor . [1]

Live and act

Andor Izsák in conversation with Salomon Finkelstein's brother

Andor Izsák was born to strictly Orthodox Jews in the Budapest ghetto . His musical talent was discovered early on. He found solace in music in his childhood, burdened with misfortunes and discrimination. At the age of 13 he came into contact with the organ in the synagogue and studied as a student at the conservatory. While still a student he became an organist in the great Dohány Synagogue in Budapest , where he had learned to play the organ from a monk.

He founded the Lewandowski Choir with the cantor Marcel Lorand in 1962 and performed synagogal choral music again for the first time after the Holocaust . For years he was a lecturer at the Béla Bartók Conservatory and the Fodor Music School , worked as a choir and opera conductor and was the founder of the Hungarian branch of the Music Information Center (MIC), through which he made international contacts. There he met his future wife Erika Lux , a pianist who worked with him as a professor at the Hanover University of Music and Theater until 2013 .

He moved to Germany in 1988 and was involved in founding the European Center for Jewish Music (EZJM) in Augsburg . After a phase in Munich he went to Hanover. In 1992 the EZJM was affiliated as an institute to the Hanover University of Music and Drama, where Izsák introduced the "Synagogal Music" course and founded the Hanover Synagogal Choir . In 2003 he was appointed to the professorship for synagogue music.

The focus of his work is the rediscovery and revival of synagogue music that was destroyed and lost during National Socialism , organ music in the synagogue, the revival of the works of Jewish composers in old traditions, e.g. B. the choral works by Louis Lewandowski. Izsák sees himself as an ambassador for Jewish sacred music in Germany and all of Europe. He is the editor of a series of publications by the EZJM, performs internationally, gives specialist lectures and promotes his mission in public spaces. In 2010, Iszák and his synagogal choir held various concerts to commemorate the installation of the first organ in a synagogue 200 years ago in the synagogue in Seesen by the reformer Israel Jacobson.

Portrait of Siegmund Seligmann , painted by Max Liebermann in 1910 , presented here by Andor Izsák in the Villa Seligmann

As President of the Siegmund Seligmann Foundation, he was involved in the acquisition of Siegmund Seligmann's private villa in Hanover for the EZJM in 2008. The Seligmann Villa was inaugurated on January 17, 2012 by the then Federal President Christian Wulff and the heads of state and local politics. Synagogue music, which is now performed by numerous prominent choirs, finds a permanent home here. [2]

After around two decades as director of the EZJM, Andor Izsák officially retired on October 1, 2012. To this day, Izsák, who was then appointed honorary president of the Siegmund Seligmann Foundation , has carried out other concerts. The conductor and “organ hunter” passes on his knowledge through lectures, guided tours and books.

Awards and honors


  • (Ed.): Louis Lewandowski: 18 liturgical psalms for solos, 4stg. mixed choir and organ. Breitkopf & Härtel, 1995.
  • (Ed.): “Nobody wanted to hear me…” Magrepha - The organ in the synagogue. Forum of the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hanover November 1999 – April 2000.
  • (Ed.): History and Vision. 100 years of Villa Seligmann. Edited by the Siegmund Seligmann Foundation. gutenberg beuys, Hanover 2006
  • (Ed.): Israel Age - Scrapbook. 1st edition of the facsimile with texts in German, English and Hebrew. Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim 2013, ISBN 978-3-487-15073-4 .
  • EZJM: CD series The Voice of the Synagogue , Vol. (Self-published)
  • Series of publications by the EZJM , (self-published) Vol. I – VIII.


  • Arno Beyer: Andor the minstrel. A Jewish musical life (English edition under the title: Andor the Spielmann ). Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim / Zurich / New York 2011, ISBN 978-3-487-08503-6 ; Table of Contents
  • Waldemar R. Röhrbein (ed.), Hugo Thielen (arrangement): Jewish personalities in Hanover's history. Completely revised, expanded and updated new edition. Lutherisches Verlagshaus, Hannover 2013, ISBN 978-3-7859-1163-1 , pp. 11, 158, 170f., 179.
  • Henning Queren: “Carrying on the musical fire” - Andor Izsák on cessation and the future. In: Neue Presse of September 29, 2012, p. 19.
  • Gabriele Kilian: Andor Iszák and synagogal music. In: Jewish culture in Lower Saxony (= New Archive for Lower Saxony. Journal for City, Regional and State Development , Volume 1). Ed .: Scientific Society for the Study of Lower Saxony eV, Wachholtz, Kiel / Hamburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-529-06470-8 , pp. 10-26.
  • Beate Roßbach: Hanover / Harmony and tenacity. In: Jüdische Allgemeine . Weekly newspaper for politics, culture, religion and Jewish life from December 1, 2011, online transcript

Television (selection)

  • ARTE recognized his work on September 12, 2011 with the report “The Music of the Synagogues”.
  • On November 10, 2018, the television program Hallo Niedersachsen showed a report about him. [4]


Commons : Andor Izsák - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hugo Thielen : European Center for Jewish Music. In: Klaus Mlynek, Waldemar R. Röhrbein et al. (Ed.): Stadtlexikon Hannover . From the beginning to the present. Schlütersche, Hannover 2009, ISBN 978-3-89993-662-9 , p. 167.
  2. Henning Queren: The musical fire ... (see literature)
  3. Andreas Krasselt: Stadtplakette shows: Volunteering is not an obsolete model. In: Neue Presse from June 17, 2016.