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William Y. Elias

[Karl ]

(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Beit Zayit, nr Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer and conductor of German birth . A pupil of Richard Strauss at the Berlin Academy of Arts, he became a répétiteur at the Berlin Staatsoper, sang at the Hamburg Opera and conducted in Baden-Baden. After settling in Jerusalem in 1933, he became the first music director of the Jerusalem Broadcasting Service in 1936. In 1938 he founded the Israel Radio SO (now Jerusalem SO), and from 1957 to 1962 he was director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Transcription Service. In Germany he was active in reviving Handel’s Rodelinda and in 1944 he organized the first Bach and Handel festival in Jerusalem.

On his arrival in Israel, Salmon became influenced by the folk music of the region, which resulted in such works as the Symphonic Suite on Greek Themes (1943) and the Sephardic Suite...

Article

Roksanda Pejović

(b Sombor, 1794; d Belgrade, 1870). Serbian composer and conductor of Jewish origin. He taught music in Šabac and held a conducting post in Novi Sad. Invited in 1831 to the court of Prince Miloš Obrenović, he founded and directed the prince’s Serbian Orchestra, which played in his Serbian Theatre in Kragujevac and Belgrade. In 1840 he moved with the court to Belgrade, where he was active until 1864. He was the outstanding figure of early Serbian stage life and composed and arranged music for several plays, containing overtures and vocal and instrumental numbers: many of the songs were influenced by Serbian or oriental folktunes and achieved wide popularity. Owing to its musical richness Ženidba cara Dušana (‘The Marriage of Tsar Dušan’; 1840, Kragujevac) is regarded as an opera, although Šlezinger conceived the music to accompany Atanasije Nikolić’s play.

S. Ðurić-Klajn: ‘Razvoj muzičke umetnosti u Srbiji’ [The Development of the Art of Music in Serbia], in ...

Article

Florinela Popa

(b Sighet, Aug 20, 1922; d July 29, 2014). Romanian composer and conductor. He began his study of music at the Lyra Conservatory in Bucharest (1940–42), but was forced to suspend his studies due to restrictions imposed on Jews and to study in private with Alfred Mendelsohn (harmony) and Eduard Lindenberg (orchestral conducting). After the war, he studied at the Bucharest Conservatory (1949–53) with Leo Klepper (composition), Constantin Silvestri (orchestral conducting), and Theodor Rogalski (orchestration). He worked as, among other jobs, artistic adviser to the Bucharest Philharmonic (1971–7) and instructor of choral ensemble performance and conducting at the People’s School of Art in Bucharest (1978–83). He worked as a conductor for several Romanian Philharmonics (Bacău, Ploiești, and Botoșani). He wrote choral, chamber, and symphonic music and concertos in a ‘moderate modern’ style. If his choral writing is characterised by the employment of tonal-modal consonant sounds, his instrumental writing often draws on such techniques as the ison, heterophony, and controlled aleatoricism, as well as elements of dodecaphony and electronic music. He was awarded the composition prize of the ...

Article

Marie Rolf

(Hans)

(b Mannheim, March 4, 1928). American composer and conductor of German birth. Both of his parents were musical, his father being a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the USA in 1939 and Adler attended Boston University (BM 1948) and Harvard University (MA 1950). He studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Fromm, Paul Hindemith, Hugo Norden, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson; musicology with Karl Geiringer, A.T. Davison and Paul A. Pisk; and conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1950 he joined the US Army and organized the Seventh Army SO, which he conducted in more than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria; he was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. Subsequently he conducted concerts and operas, and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. In 1957 he was appointed professor of composition at North Texas State University, and in ...

Article

Kathleen Dale

revised by Axel Helmer

(Emanuel)

(b Stockholm, Jan 19, 1860; d Stockholm, Jan 20, 1938). Swedish composer, organist and conductor. He attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1882–6), studying counterpoint and composition with J. Dente, and was a pupil of Franck in Paris (1887–8). In Stockholm he was coach at the Royal Opera (1888–90), organist at the synagogue (1890–1928), music teacher at Norrmalm’s grammar school (1895–1923) and teacher at Richard Anderssons Musikskola (1897–1909). From 1886 he conducted several choirs, including the Bellman Choir (1895–1926), which he also founded, and the Philharmonic Society (1900–03). Åkerberg’s compositions often approach the style of Swedish folk music, especially the ballads Kung Svegder and Prinsessan och Svennen. They are technically sound but conventional.

MSS in S-Skma, Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå

Article

John Beckwith

(b Budapest, April 12, 1919; d Kingston, ON, February 24, 2012). Canadian composer, conductor and pianist of Hungarian birth. He studied with Kodály at the Budapest Academy (1937–41). As a young man he spent a period with other Jewish youths in a forced-labour contingent of the Hungarian Army; his later war experiences – escape, then concealment by friends during the winter of 1944–5 – are described in the memoirs of the novelist Theresa de Kerpely (Teresa Kay). After a season as assistant conductor at the Budapest Opera (1945–6), he went to Paris for further studies in piano (Soulima Stravinsky), conducting (Fourestier) and composition (Boulanger), remaining there for three years. He moved to Canada in 1949 (taking Canadian nationality in 1955), and for three years held a Lady Davis Fellowship and an appointment as assistant professor at McGill University. There he founded the electronic music studio and served for six years as chair of the department of theoretical music. He held grants for electronic music research from the Canada Council (...

Article

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’, ...

Article

William Y. Elias

(b Brichevo, Bessarabia [now Moldavia], May 1, 1927; d Tel Hashomer, Israel, March 17, 2005). Israeli conductor and composer of Russian birth. Taken to Palestine as a child, he began violin lessons at the age of six. He later studied at the Milan Conservatory (1946–7), in Israel, and at the Paris Conservatoire (1951–4) while taking further studies with Nadia Boulanger, Chailley, Honegger and Messiaen. In 1954 he returned to Israel and taught conducting at the Music Teachers’ College, Tel-Aviv, and later at the Rubin Academy of Tel-Aviv University, where he was appointed a professor in 1975. In 1955 he formed the Rinat Choir, which quickly acquired a wide reputation and became the Israel Chamber Choir. Bertini’s orchestral début was also in 1955 with the Israel PO, with which he first toured the USA and East Asia in 1960. His British début was in 1965...

Article

J.A. Fuller Maitland

revised by Robert Philip

(b Aachen, April 21, 1871; d Berlin, Aug 24, 1958). German conductor and composer. In Berlin he studied the piano under Ernst Rudorff, and composition under Woldemar Bargiel and later under Humperdinck. He was conductor at the Stadttheater, Aachen (1893–9) and then at the Neues Deutsches Theater in Prague (1899–1906), where his reputation as a conductor and composer of opera became well established. In 1906 he was appointed conductor of the Royal Opera House, Berlin, where he became Generalmusikdirektor in 1913. In 1923 he moved to the Deutsches Opernhaus, Berlin, as artistic director, and this was followed by a year at the Berlin Volksoper in 1924, and a year at the Vienna Volksoper in 1925. In 1926 he returned to Berlin as conductor of the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden, and remained there, achieving great success, until, being Jewish, he found himself unable to return from a guest engagement at Rīga in ...

Article

Fritz Hennenberg

(b Hamburg, Dec 19, 1894; d Königs Wusterhausen, June 28, 1979). German composer and conductor.

His grandfather, Moses B. Dessau, was cantor in the Hamburg synagogue. Dessau began violin lessons at the age of six and appeared as a soloist at the age of 11. In 1909 he moved to Berlin, where he studied the violin at the Klindworth-Schwarwenka Conservatory with Florian Zajic. When Zajic advised him to discontinue his violin studies, he decided to become a composer and conductor, studying privately with Eduard Behm and Max Loewengard. In 1912 he became a répétiteur at the Hamburg opera house. Thanks to his cousin Jean Gilbert, who had built up an operetta empire, he was appointed Kapellmeister at the Tivoli Theatre in Bremen in 1914. He began to establish his reputation as a composer in 1915 when his piano sonata was given its first performance by Bruno Eisner in Berlin. After serving in World War I, he gained more experience in the theatre at the Hamburg Kammerspiele, where he worked as both a composer and a conductor. He went on to hold posts as an opera conductor in Cologne (...