Benedict Silberman  remembered

Benedict Silberman (originally Boruch Hirsch-Benedigton Silberman) was born on December 5, 1901 in Helsinki. He was the son of the Austrian ‘Stehgeiger’ Jos (Jozef) Silberman (born in Tarnow Poland 1 April 1877 – 12 April 1950 Amsterdam) and the Finnish violinist Frida Salman (Frieda Sahlman born  1875 – Amsterdam 1934). Benedict had a brother Mordehaj Fritz Silberman (1900 – 1976) and a sister Ruth Silberman (1907 – 3 September 1943 Ausschwitz). His father had a female only orchestra in which his mother (first violin) and aunt played. Jozef Silberman initially worked in Helsinki where he met his wife and his three children were born and then moved to Amsterdam.
Benedict Silberman  studied at the Amsterdam conservatory : piano in the class of J.B. de Pauw –student of Liszt- and composition in the classes of Bernard Zweers and Sem Dresden. His graduation piece was a piano concerto (1924). Later he would also compose a violin concerto (1925) and an operetta ‘Het Rozeneiland’ (1944)

silberman4   dilberman5 (Sem Dresden and Bernard Zweers) (Jozef Silberman and his second wife the singer Johanna Remmelenkamp)

Silberman left with his wife for Berlin in the twenties where he worked as a violinist but also arranged music from the light classical repertoire. He worked with Franz Léhar, Emmerich Kalman and Robert Stolz. Silberman worked for the orchestras of Marek Weber, Dajos Bela and Paul Godwin. Being Jewish he returned to the Netherlands around 1936. There he worked for the Radio, initially as a pianist in Lajos Kovacs’s orchestra for the Avro channel  and a year later he moved to the Vara radio channel. He also started to conduct radio orchestras.
During the war the Jewish musician went into hiding and managed to survive the Nazi atrocities. After the war he immediately returned to Hilversum and the radio.

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From 1948 till 1967 he conducted the Promenade orchestra –an orchestra he founded – and with whom he had his greatest successes. About this orchestra he would say :” without me the Promenade orchestra would be somewhere, without the Promenade Orchestra I would be nowhere”.
In 1965 he was awarded by the Conamus Foundation with the ‘Golden Harp’ in recognition for his contribution to music in the Netherlands. When he retired he was made a knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau and Gijsbert Nieuwland took over his orchestra.


Benedict Silberman who made several recordings died in Hilversum on 11th December  1971.