Finnish conductor and composer. His life is a research specialism of Dr Simo Muir
|Studies||1914 / Saint Petersburg Conservatory|
|Birth||1897 / Helsinki|
Simon Parmet (earlier Pergament; 1897-1969) was a Finnish conductor and composer. Born in Helsinki, he studied piano under Alexander Glazunov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1914. During the Russian Revolution he returned to Helsinki where he established Jewish Choir Association (Judiska Sångföreningen –Juutalainen Laulukuoro) together with his colleagues. Parmet arranged several dozens of traditional East-European Yiddish folksongs for the choir he conducted. He also composed original music, including the choral piece Eyli, Eyli (My God, my God), marked as opus 5, from 1919. Parmet continued his studies in Berlin at the Stern Conservatory and worked several years as a conductor in Kiel.
Parmet returned to Helsinki in 1928 to become the conductor of the Finnish Opera in Helsinki. Two years later he arranged a third collection of ten Yiddish folksongs for the Jewish Choir Association.
During winter 1940 Parmet composed music for Bertold Brecht's play Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder. Brecht at the time was living in Exile in Helsinki. In 1941 Parmet traveled with his family to the U.S. where he stayed the rest of the war and returned to Finland in 1949 after receiving a post as the conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Parmet was considered by some of his contemporaries as the best conductor in Finland, but despite receiving such high posts, he never managed to make a successful career. Parmet himself considered this to be because of his Jewish background, though he also had a reputation for a quick-tempered personality. Only during his later years did he receive recognition, especially for his interpretations and analyses of Sibelius’s symphonies.
Parmet’s archive has been lost, but the Yiddish folksong arrangements and some other choir pieces have been preserved by the Jewish Choir Association in Helsinki.