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Avitsur, Eitanlocked

  • Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Jerusalem, Sept 15, 1941). Israeli composer and conductor. He studied at the Rubin Academy of Music (teacher's diploma 1967, BMus 1972) and at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1976). From 1968 to 1973 he served as the director of Renanot, the Institute of Jewish Music, Jerusalem. In 1971 he joined the music department at Bar-Ilan University, where he founded an electro-acoustic laboratory in 1995. He has conducted numerous concerts in Israel, as well as national television and radio broadcasts. In 1973 he helped establish the Natanya SO, with which he has performed concerts of contemporary Israeli music. An award-winning youth orchestra conductor, he became music director of the Jerusalem Youth Orchestra in 1987.

Avitsur's compositions express a deep commitment to Jewish and Israeli culture. Many of his works are large-scale vocal compositions based on scenes from recent Jewish history. Much of his music, such as the Symphony no.2 ‘Shirat Hadorot’ (‘Generations’ chanting’, 1981), is influenced by traditional melodies and chants. In the Rhapsody for wind instruments (1991) traditional tunes and Middle Eastern māqāmāt are juxtaposed with a Western idiom. He has also composed Western-style accompaniments for original performances of traditional music. Other compositions, such as the Prelude for nine instruments and electronics (1972) and the Trio for percussion instruments (1992), are innovative in their use of rhythm and tone colour. Some of his concertos and chamber works show the influence of Mordecai Seter and Alexander Boskovitch. Avitsur himself cites Penderecki as a primary influence.


(selective list)

for fuller list see Tischler (1988)


Qaddish, vc, chorus, orch, 1971

Yasad Erets [He Established the Earth] (Ps civ), chorus, org, 1974

Eleh ha–banim [These are my Sons] (dramatic orat, I. Shalev, H. Hefer), spkr, Bar, orch, elecs, 1975

Meǵillat Ha–esh [The Scroll of Fire] (orat, H.N. Bialik), spkr, S, chbr orch, elecs, 1976

Sym, no.2 ‘Shirat Ha–dorot’ [Generations' Chanting], spkr, Bar, boys' choir, orch, 1981

Shirat Ha–yam [Song of the Sea] (cant.), chorus, orch, 1984

Ha–qhel le–yisra’el [The Community of Israel] (cant.), male vv, orch, 1987

Kinnor David [King David's Harp] (orat), solo vv, chorus, orch, 1996


Sinfonietta, chbr orch, 1977

Tpt Conc., 1982: Trbn Conc., 1985

Leilot Shabbat [Sabbath Eves], sym., 1986

Rhapsody, wind, 1991

The Israeli Chain, band, 1992

La blanka torre, suite, chbr orch, 1995

Rhapsody, vn, orch [based on Jewish Sephardic romances]; see vocal: [Sym. no.2 ‘Shirat ha–dorot’, 1981]

Chamber and solo instrumental

3 Pieces, pf, 1968

Str Qt, 1971

Prelude, 9 insts, elecs, 1972

Wind Qnt, 1974

Suite, pf, 1979

Sonatina, gui, 1983

Brass Qnt, 1985

Suite, fl, vc, hp, 1986

Tuga [Grief], tpt, org, 1986

Rhapsody, vc, 1987

Trio, 3 perc, 1992

Duet, fl, db, 1993

Sonata, pf, 1995

Sonata, tpt, trbn, 1998

Other works

incid music for film and TV; arrs. Israeli and Jewish songs, orch/band

Principal recording company: CBS


  • A. Tischler: A Descriptive Bibliography of Art Music by Israeli Composers (Detroit, 1988), 18–19
  • Y. Cohen: Ne‘imei zemirot yisra’el [The heirs of the psalmist], (Tel-Aviv, 1990), 388–9