ca. 100 photographs : b&w and col. ; 61 x 27 or smaller
3 cm of textual records
[ca. 1900]-1994, predominent 1920-1960
Scope and Content
Accession consists of a scrapbook compiled by Edward J. Levy documenting the personal lives and musical careers of Sidney Levy and Philip and Elie Spivak. The scrapbook primarily consists of photographs of the Spivak and Levy families but also includes the musical score for Dirge for Orchestra composed by Oskar Morawetz in memory of Elie Spivak, naturalization papers for Philip Spivak and Bella Spivak, bulletins of the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, photographs of other musicians including Zara Nelsova, newsclippings, Ed Levy's bar mitzvah certificate, postcards and invitations. There is also an oversized photograph of the 19th Season of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, featuring Elie Spivak, Philip Spivak and Sidney Levy.
Sidney (Solomon) Levy (1898-1971) was born in London, England in 1898, the son of Elizabeth (nee Goldstein) Levy. He was the oldest brother to six younger sisters. Sidney was a violist who first played in movie houses in East London, where he met Phillip and Elie Spivak. During the 1920s, he played on touring ocean liners. He immigrated to Toronto in 1929 where he again played movie theatres and then built a career with the CBC radio orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He also played the O'Keefe Centre's opening night performance of Camelot.
Elie (2 Feb. 1902-23 July 1960) and Phillip (1906-ca. 1962) Spivak were born in Uman, Ukraine, the sons of Reverend Joseph (d. 1965) and Bella (nee Finkler) (d. 1962) Spivak. They were two of five children: Elie, Clara (1904-1984), Philip, Siam (d. ca. 1964, New York) and Thelma (m. Heller) (1917-2008).Their paternal grandfather, Yankel Spivak, was a famous chazzan. Their maternal grandfather, Ezra Finkler, was a successful wheat merchant in Ukraine, who was killed during the pogroms. Joseph and Bella Spivak, who were living with their children on the Finkler's large estate at the time, managed to escape through Poland and Germany, eventually arriving in Paris in 1910. At this time, Elie entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of seven and studied violin with Henri Berthelier from 1910-1915. Around 1915, the Spivak family immigrated to England, where Clara later met Sidney Levy through her brothers, who at the time was a theatre musician. Elie continued his studies at the Royal College of Manchester with Adolphe Brodsky in 1916. In 1923, he founded the Elie Spivak String Quartet in Manchester, the first ensemble to give chamber music concerts over the new BBC network.
The Spivak family left London for Canada in the late 1920s. Elie was the first of the siblings to immigrate and after resideing for one year in New York City, he moved to Toronto in 1926. Philip and Clara followed in 1929, as did Sidney Levy. Joseph and Bella Spivak, along with their children Siam and Thelma, ended up settling in New York City. Sidney married Clara Spivak in a ceremony in New York in the year they immigrated. They had one son, Edward (b. 1934). Clara was active in the TSO's Women's Committee.
In Toronto, Elie Spivak was first violin (1929-1942) of the Conservatory String Quartet and concertmaster (1931-1948) of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 1945, he gave the North American premiere of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He was the first Canadian musician invited to Israel, touring the country for five months in 1950 as guest of the Jerusalem String Quartet. He led the Spivak String Quartet (1951-1956) and was heard frequently over CBC radio. He examined for the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) in Toronto and adjudicated for Kiwanis Festivals and the Canadian National Exhibition. He taught violin at the RCM from 1922 until his death. He also taught in the University Settlement Music School. Elie was a member of Goel Tzedec Synagogue and was married to Hilda (nee Narrol) Spivak. He had two sons, David and Michael.
Philip Spivak played the cello and was first stand with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He also played in a chamber orchestra. He married the famous cellist Zara Nelsova, later divorced and remarried Iris Cooper. Philip was a member of Holy Blossom Temple.