Yasha Datshkovsky


Yasha (Jacob) Datshkovsky (July 9, 1931 – December 15, 1995) was born of Russian parentage in Mexico City. His musical training began with piano studies at the age of 8. As an adult, he went to medical school and became a psychiatrist and physician by profession, but he never abandoned his passion for music, writing several piano pieces that were modestly published in Mexico. When Datshkovsky was in his 50’s, his interests expanded into orchestra work and he undertook study in music theory and composition. He simultaneously sought out a U.S. publisher for his growing portfolio of classical works and eventually found Southern Music of San Antonio, Texas, who signed Datshkovsky in 1986. Among the first works published was his Lullaby for Alexandra which was originally composed for piano. It’s timeless, haunting tune sparked numerous arrangements for various solo instruments, chamber groups, as well as a full orchestration. His chamber works also include Danzas Mexicanas, Berceuse, Hebraic Dance, and Pensamiento, among others. Though he never obtained much formal music training, Datshkovsky was fortunate to be bestowed with a rare gift for melody and authenticity in his music. Still having strong family and personal ties to Russia and Eastern Europe, he would often travel there to seek out gifted orchestrators to flesh out the arrangement of his scores, while he funded fine recordings by orchestras there from his personal wealth as a physician. In December of 1995, Datshovsky, who was the very picture of health in his later years, was struck down somewhat prematurely by a heart attack, collapsing on the floor of his residence in the affluent Lomas de Chapultepec colonia of Mexico City. Though Datshkovsky spent considerable amounts of his time and personal fortune in the creation of his music, his orchestra catalog has remained relatively unknown today, despite all of its emotional charm and melodic deftness. His scores are gems in the light classical vein of Leroy Anderson that, perhaps due to the fact that he began the work so late in life, perhaps because he was unknown to enough influential conductors to perform his scores, or perhaps that the style was out of synch with what orchestras were programming at the end of the 20th Century, never quite received the attention it truly deserves.


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