Zbriger, Maurice. Violinist, violist, composer, conductor, b Kamenets-Podol'skiy, Ukraine, 10 Jul 1896, d Montreal 5 Apr 1981. After first studying the violin in his native town he was accepted in the class of Leopold Auer at the St Petersburg Cons, where Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein were among his fellow students. He left Russia in 1920, subsequently playing in cafés in several European cities before arriving in Montreal in 1924. In 1925 he was one of the founders of the Traymore Quartet, which later became the Traymore Salon Orchestra and which made nine 78s for Compo (listed in Roll Back the Years). Playing in theatres and restaurants, Zbriger was one of the first musicians in Canada to specialize in gypsy music. As a soloist and conductor he took part in many radio programs devoted to this music on CKAC and later the CBC. For a few seasons beginning in 1931 he was violist with the Montreal Orchestra and in the mid- and late-1930s he was a member of the orchestras of the CSM (MSO) and the Montreal Festivals.
Zbringer was a prolific composer, who wrote some 250 songs, 42 marches, and 8 overtures. Such singers as Yolande Dulude and Yoland Guérard have performed his songs. 'Mother's Lullaby' (1948) was written to mark the birth of Prince Charles of England, and 'Little Bells are Twinkling' (1949) was sung by the noted soprano Erna Sack. His marches include The Vincent Massey March (1952) and Tribute to the Games 76, which was premiered at the international bandshell of Man and His World in Montreal. In July 1974 The Campbell 50th Anniversary Overture, a commission by the Royal Trust Company to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Campbell Free Band Concerts, was premiered at the bandshell, and The Campbell Memorial March (1956) also was performed on that occasion. Several of Zbriger's works have been published by F. Harris, Thompson, Popular Music Publishers Ltd, and Canadian Music Sales. In 1982 the NFB produced a film about him entitled The Concert Man.