Samuel Luskin was a music teacher, composer and performer in Buffalo from 1911 to 1957, originally a Jewish immigrant from Russia. Born in Horka, Mogilev in 1882 to Leon and Fannie Luskin, the Luskin family fled Russia in the 1900s in response to state sponsored anti-Semitism. By 1911, Samuel Luskin had settled in Buffalo and was married to Celia Bransburg, daughter of a rabbi, and also a Russian immigrant. They had two sons Leo and Harold. Samuel had trained as a musician in Russia, where he taught violin and held a music directorship in Mohelew. In Buffalo, he continued to study the violin with teacher Julius Singer, while also playing piano, French horn, trumpet, and the flute.
Appointed as Musical Director at Temple Beth El in 1911, he also served as choirmaster and bar mitzvah instructor in the Hebrew School for the next forty years. In association with Harry Hart Kaufman, a Temple Beth El cantor, he composed a liturgical service, as well as independently, created and arranged music for voice and organ used nationally and internationally. He was the founder director of the Buffalo Jewish Choral Society and served as its director for 16 years from 1929 to 1945. Much of the Buffalo Jewish Choral Society music library were donated to the Buffalo Central Library. In 1956, he was honored by the American Association for Jewish Education as a Hebrew teacher with the longest tenure in America. He was also honored by Temple Beth El, Buffalo, for serving 45 years as musical director, with a special performance by the Buffalo Jewish Choral Society, directed by Allen Sigel, clarinetist at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra where Samuel Luskin also played. He died in 1959 and is buried at Temple Beth El Cemetery, Pine Ridge, Cheektowaga, NY.
Archival Collection at the University Archives, University at Buffalo
- Temple Beth El, 1847-2006 (Ms 222) with a series related to Samuel Luskin
- Sheet Music, “Sim Shalom”, arranged by Samuel Luskin, UB Digital Repository
Music collection, Central Library, Grosvenor Room, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
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