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Jorge Kostianovsky, who died October 24, 2022, was born in Concordia, Argentina on September 11, 1927. He came from a musical family; his father was a businessman who had a love of music and made sure all four of his children played instruments or sang. His father founded “Amigos del Arte,” a renowned musical institution in Argentina. Jorge, a baritone, demonstrated an early gift for singing and eventually gravitated toward opera. His brother played violin in an orchestra at age seven, and his sister was also a trained singer.
A well-known music critic attended a concert at “Amigos del Arte” and evaluated Jorge. On the critic’s recommendation, Jorge began to study music at the Teatro Colon, the world class opera house in Buenos Aires. Jorge studied there for three years with an instructor who felt he had a bright future as a baritone opera singer. He also learned piano and became fluent in Italian to enhance his studies of Italian opera.
In addition to his musical talents, Jorge had a gift and passion to help others; as a result, he pursued a career in medicine. He enrolled in the medical school at La Universidad del Literal in Rosario, Argentina. During his studies, his father would continue to drive him six hours on weekends to Buenos Aires for voice training. This continued until his father died in 1948. The grief over the loss of his father dampened his spirit to continue singing his father’s favorite arias and songs, and though he continued singing, medicine had become his primary career.
He met his wife of sixty-five years through his father’s business. Mery Meilijzon was also studying medicine at the same Universidad del Literal in Rosario. In 1959, after completing their medical studies, they sought a more meaningful experience, leading them to practice medicine on a kibbutz in the Negev of Israel. Jorge’s work involved traveling from moshav to moshav in the area to provide general medical care. He found it extremely satisfying to provide care and healing to others. Jorge welcomed the birth of his daughter, Deborah, in 1962, and stayed in Israel a few more years, before moving to St. Louis to further pursue medicine at Washington University.
Jorge pursued training as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and eventually started a private practice with a partner. Jorge and his partner migrated their practice to Moorestown, New Jersey around 1975. In New Jersey, he continued to see private patients and also provide psychiatric services to the children of Burlington County for many decades.
He cultivated a large circle of friends and colleagues wherever he found himself, including an extensive “Argentinian clan” in St. Louis and the Philadelphia area. He continued singing and playing the piano at events for family and friends well into his eighties. After retirement, he refashioned himself as a visual artist, taking painting classes and producing dozens of beautiful abstract paintings. His diverse passions and interests also included sailing, tinkering in the yard of his home in Long Beach Island, and socializing with family and friends. He was a passionate supporter of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Company. He had fierce devotion to his wife, daughter and extended family.
He was the beloved husband of Mery (nee Meilijzon); loving father of Deborah (Adam Schneider) Kostianovsky; cherished grandfather of Isaac “Zak” Schneider; devoted brother of Hilda “Micky” Kostianovsky de Grieco and the late Mario Kostianovsky and Armando (“Tincho”) Kostianovsky.
Family and friends are invited to Graveside Services Sunday October 30, 2022 at 10:30 AM, Roosevelt Memorial Park, 2701 Old Lincoln Highway, Trevose, PA. Shiva will be held Sunday at the residence of Dr. Deborah Kostianovsky and Adam Schneider. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jorge’s memory may be made to The Philadelphia Orchestra (www.philorch.org) or Opera Philadelphia (www.operaphila.org).
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