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William Y. Elias

(b Berlin, Jan 17, 1925). Israeli musicologist of German birth. He settled in Palestine in 1937, and studied music at the Paris Conservatoire (1949–53) and under Corbin at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (diploma 1961). He then attended the musicology institute at the Sorbonne, where he studied with Chailley and in 1963 took a doctorat de 3ème cycle with a dissertation on learned musical practice in several Jewish communities in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. Concurrently, he was head of the Hebraica-Judaica section at the Bibliothèque Nationale (1950–63). He returned to Israel to become the director of the music department and national sound archives at the Jewish National and Hebrew University library in Jerusalem (1963–9), and was subsequently director of the library (1969–71). In 1964 he founded the Jewish music research centre at the Hebrew University and was its director (...

Article

Natan Shahar

(b Yekatrinoslav [now Dnepropetrovsk], Dec 5, 1894; d Tel-Aviv, April 2, 1982). Israeli composer and singer. He emigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1906. He studied at the Teacher's Seminary in Jerusalem where his teachers included Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. During World War I he moved to Egypt and enlisted in the British Army. After the war he returned to Palestine and, while earning his living as an accountant, took singing lessons with Jehuda Har-Melaḥ. A countertenor with a phenomenal ability to improvise, he travelled to the USA in 1923 to further his singing studies; there he specialized in improvisation and distinctive vibrato singing, similar in style to Arab-Bedouin singing or ululation. Commissioned to write an orchestral accompaniment for songs improvised in a Bedouin style, he enlisted the compositional assistance of Lazar Seminski, who encouraged him to continue to compose. His first songs, Ya leil (‘Oh night’) and ...

Article

Noël Goodwin

[Georgy]

(b Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 13, 1932; d Cologne, Oct 31, 2002). Israeli conductor of Soviet birth. He studied at the Leningrad Central School of Music and the Leningrad Conservatory, and also with Natan Rakhlin and Kurt Sanderling. In 1956 he was appointed conductor of the Saratov PO; he also taught at the conservatory there and conducted his first operas. The next year he became conductor at Yaroslav, remaining there until his appointment as chief conductor of the Moscow RSO in 1964; his guest engagements included appearances with the Bol′shoy Ballet. Ahronovich left the USSR in 1972 and became an Israeli citizen. After concerts with the Israel PO he began touring, appearing in London with the RPO and with the New York PO in the USA. He made his operatic début in the West with Otello at Cologne, where he was conductor of the Gürzenich Concerts from ...

Article

Jehoash Hirshberg

(Heinz)

(b Berlin, Aug 9, 1915). Israeli composer of German birth. His studies at the Stern Conservatory were halted in 1936 as a result of the Nazi persecution, and in the same year he emigrated to Palestine. There he studied composition with Wolpe and the piano with Irma Wolpe-Schoenberg and Ilona Vince-Kraus. As a student he made his living as a café jazz pianist in Jersualem and established himself as an excellent improviser. From 1945 until his retirement he was a professor at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem. A highly versatile musician, he taught the piano, the harpsichord, theory, composition and improvisation. He also lectured in the musicology departments of Tel-Aviv University, the Hebrew University, the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, Geneva, and New York University.

One of the diverse group of composers who emigrated from Europe to Palestine during the 1930s, Alexander experienced the tension between the ideological pressure to create a new national style with a nebulous Middle Eastern and folklike orientation, and the urge to keep abreast of current Western music. This tension is reflected in the contrast between the post-Romantic chromaticism of ...

Article

Nathan Mishori

(b Tel-Aviv, Oct 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 4, 1994). Israeli composer. She studied at the Tel-Aviv Music Teachers’ College (1948–50) and at the Israel Academy of Music (1950–52), where her principal teachers were Oedoen Partos (composition) and Ilona Vincze-Kraus (piano). Later, she was composer-in-residence at the Bar-Ilan University (1975–6).

Alotin shared her teachers' ideal of combining Western, Eastern and Jewish music traditions with contemporary ideas. In general, her works are based on Baroque and Classical forms, but in conjunction with an individual language of fluidly changing metre and rhythm, already evident in Yefeh nof (‘Beautiful Landscape’, 1952). The theme of the Passacaglia (1954) for piano is a Bukharian song, elaborated through extended tonality, while the influence of biblical cantillation is felt in the Cantata (1956) and in the vital and spontaneous Sonata for violin and piano (...

Article

Natan Shahar

(b Warsaw, Aug 8, 1909; d Yakum Kibbutz, Israel, Dec 18, 1993). Israeli composer and teacher of Russian descent. He received his early musical education in Moscow. In 1924 he emigrated with his family to Palestine, where he continued his musical studies with Shlomo Rozovsky (1928–9). He began to compose in 1930. From 1934 to 1936 he studied music education at Trinity College, London, and composition with Bantock and Rowley; at the same time he also studied at Tonic Sol-fa College, London. With the formation of the Israeli Army, he was appointed First Officer for music, founding the orchestras of both the army and the cadets. In 1949 he became the central inspector for music education at the Ministry of Education, a post he held until his retirement in 1975.

Amiran was one of the Ereṣ Yisrael composers who developed the character of what became known as typical Israeli folksong. His vast number of songs (around 600), many of which set biblical texts, were published in a wide array of pamphlets and song books. The most notable of these include: the nursery songs ...

Article

Talila Eliram

[Abramovich, Aleksander ]

(b Moscow, Oct 26, 1914; d Tel Aviv, Sept 27, 1995). Israeli popular music composer. His family name was Abramovich, but he changed it to the Hebrew name Argov in 1946, 12 years after emigrating to Israel. He was known as Sasha. His mother was a professional pianist and his father a dentist. Argov began to play the piano at the age of three and a half, and when he was six he began composing songs which his mother wrote down for him. He had no formal training in music, and in his adult life music was not his main source of income – he worked as a bank clerk and later owned a bookshop – but composing was always his mission in life.

He wrote approximately 1200 songs including songs for military and civilian entertainment troupes, and songs with piano accompaniment. He accompanied some performances of his songs, and emphasized that in his music the piano plays an important part in creating an atmosphere and illustrating the meaning of the text; he ascribed considerable importance to the relationship between text and music, and attempted to represent words in music using frequent changes of rhythm and metre. He also composed several musicals and film scores; his most famous musical was ...

Article

Jean Gribenski

(b Düsseldorf, Aug 16, 1930). Israeli and French ethnomusicologist . After studying the french horn with Jean Devémy at the Paris Conservatoire (1951–4), he was first horn in the Israel Broadcasting Authority SO in Jerusalem (1958–63). In 1963 he founded the Musée National Boganda at Bangui in the Central African Republic, and was its director until 1967, and on returning to Paris he undertook musicological studies with Chailley at the Sorbonne (1968–73). He entered the CNRS in 1968 and his subsequent career has been with that institution. In 1993 he was appointed lecturer at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He was an associate professor at Tel-Aviv University (1979–83) and music director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (1980–82). He has been awarded the Grand Prix International du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros (1971, 1978 and ...

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

( b Haifa, Nov 17, 1933). Israeli conductor . She studied the piano at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, and subsequently studied conducting in Europe and the USA with Franco Ferrara, Celibidache, Hans Swarowsky and Boulez. From 1954 to 1960 she taught piano at the Rubin Academy of Music. Atlas won several international conducting awards, including the Dimitri Mitropoulos Competition (1964), the Leopold Stokowski Prize (1978) and the Eugene Ormandy Award (1980). In 1981 she was appointed associate professor and director of musical studies at the Technion in Haifa. She is the founder and principal conductor of the symphony orchestra and choir of Technion, the Israel Pro Musica Orchestra and the Atlas Camerata. She has also appeared as a guest conductor with the RPO in London, the Royal Liverpool PO and the Stockholm PO, among others. Atlas has given the first performances of works by the Israeli composers Amy Maayany and Zvi Avni, and has recorded Stravinsky's ...

Article

Arthur Jacobs

(b Budapest, July 30, 1931). Israeli conductor. His family settled in British-mandated Palestine in 1944 and he followed Israeli custom in changing his original surname to the present Hebrew form. Having studied the piano and horn, he graduated from the Tel-Aviv Academy of Music in composition and conducting (1962) and was encouraged by Antal Dorati to pursue a conducting career. In London, where he studied at the GSM, he won the school's conducting prize in 1963, followed in 1964 by the first prize at the international conducting competition sponsored by the Royal Liverpool PO. In 1967 he conducted the Vienna PO at the Salzburg Festival. From 1969 to 1971 he was chief conductor of the Sydney SO, and in 1972 he became chief conductor of the NDR SO and of the Basle SO. After a spell in Tokyo as musical adviser for the Tokyo Metropolitan SO (...

Article

William Y. Elias

[Loewenstein, Herbert]

(b Danzig [now Gdánsk], May 25, 1908; d Magen, Sept 16, 1994). Israeli musicologist. He studied musicology, literature and art history at the universities of Leipzig, Munich, Frankfurt and Königsberg (Kaliningrad), where he took the doctorate under Wilhelm Warringer in 1931 with a dissertation on Minnesang. He was prevented from pursuing an academic career in Germany, and turned to publishing Jewish art in Berlin (1932–6). In 1936 he settled as a publisher in Palestine, where research in musicology had barely begun, and he had to carry on his musicological work independently, publishing articles mostly in foreign periodicals. Urged to adapt himself to the demands of a country under war conditions, he developed a chemical production process and worked as a technical manager in industry (1941–8) before joining the Israel Air Force research department. He left the service with the rank of major to take up a research fellowship in musicology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (...

Article

(b Stanislav, Jan 6, 1908; d Tel-Aviv, Aug 5, 1995). Israeli composer of Russian birth. His mother was a cousin of Mahler; his adopted surname combines the word ‘Avi’ (‘father of’) with the initials of his children's names. He studied at the American University in Beirut and at the Paris Conservatoire, where his teachers included Rabaud. In 1925 he emigrated to Palestine, where, in addition to his work as a composer, he served as a music critic, secretary general of the Israel PO (1945–52), chair of the Israel Composers' League (1958–71) and general director of ACUM, the Israeli performing rights society (1955–80).

In the late 1930s, after writing early works in an Impressionist style, Avidom turned towards atonal composition. While studying in Beirut and during a four-year stay in Egypt, however, he became deeply influenced by Mediterranean and Asian folk music and French culture. These influences found their expression in arrangements for the Yemenite singer Bracha Zefira (...

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

Miri Gerstel

(b Saarbrücken, Sept 2, 1927). Israeli composer of German origin. He studied composition with Erlich, Ben-Haim and Seter, and the piano with Pelleg, graduating from the Israel Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv, in 1958. From 1961 to 1975, Avni served intermittently as the director of the AMLI Central Music Library. Between 1962 and 1964 he continued his studies in the USA: at the Columbia–Princeton Electronic Music Center with Ussachevsky and in Tanglewood with Copland and Foss. Avni later taught composition and served as director of the electronic music laboratories at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (1971–95); he was appointed head of the department of theory and composition there in 1976. From 1968 to 1982 he also served as editor of Guitite, the bi-monthly publication of the Israeli Jeunesses Musicales, and from 1978 to 1980 he was chairman of the Israeli League of Composers. Avni was appointed chairman of the jury of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in ...

Article

Andrew C. McGraw

The particular types of gamelan of Bali, Indonesia; commonly distinguished from Javanese gamelan. Although many ethnomusicologists have categorized gamelan using a taxonomy developed by the Balinese state conservatory, which distinguishes ensembles as ‘old, middle, and new’ (kuno, madya, baru), definitive evidence regarding the emergence of pre-20th-century ensembles is lacking. Authors have alternatively attempted to categorize ensembles by their ceremonial and social function. However, new social and aesthetic contexts have shifted prior associations; practically all extant ensembles now appear in tourist, state, religious, and experimental contexts. Ultimately it might be simplest to organize the ensembles organologically. For information on individual instruments see separate entries. For bibliography see gamelan .

Balinese gamelan appear primarily in bamboo and bronze, and rarely iron, varieties. Ensembles dominated by bamboo instruments are typically smaller and are often associated with secular or recreational social contexts. The joged (pajogedan, joged bumbung) ensemble combines six tingklik...

Article

Ronit Seter

[Berman, Bernhardt]

(b Wiesbaden, July 20, 1923). Israeli critic, composer and musicologist. He moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1936. After studying composition with Paul Ben-Haim, his most influential teacher, Bar-Am attended the Ecole Normale de Paris (1949–51). He studied musicology at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1977), where he became the principal lecturer for courses on Jewish music and Israeli contemporary music (1973–96) and the first director of the Archive of Israeli Music. The secretary general of the Israeli League of Composers (1960–76, 1976–8), he became chair of the organizing committee of the ISCM in Israel in 1980. Though most influential as the music critic of the Jerusalem Post between 1958 and 1995, Bar-Am also wrote many essays on Israeli music in Hebrew, English and German, notably ‘A Musical Gateway between East and West’ (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 1988). He ceased composing in the early 1970s but resumed in ...

Article

Ketevan Bolashvili

(b Batumi, Nov 23, 1948). Georgian composer. He studied composition with A. Shaverzashvili at the Tbilisi State Conservatory (1968–76) and taught at the College of Batumi Music (1973–95). In 1987 he was awarded the Z. Paliashvili State Prize and in 1995 he emigrated to Israel.

Bardanashvili came to notice in the 1970s when, in his first serious experiments in composition dating from his student years, he set himself complex creative tasks and constantly endeavoured to find uncommon ways of solving them. His creative thinking was formed by a synthesis of national traditions – Georgian and Jewish – and contemporary methods such as dodecaphony, in addition to aleatory and sonoristic techniques, all applied in a non-dogmatic manner.

He seeks to reveal the complex, multi-faceted aspects of the human soul, and the rich spectrum of its emotional world; the varied literary sources of his inspiration include, in particular, Jewish medieval poetry and the work of Marcus Aurelius and Michelangelo. His Symphony (...

Article

Alan Blyth

(b Buenos Aires, Nov 15, 1942). Israeli pianist and conductor. He was first taught by his parents and made his début as a pianist in Buenos Aires when he was seven. In 1951 the family moved to Europe where he played at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and thence to Israel. Back in Salzburg in 1954, he met Edwin Fischer and Furtwängler, both major influences on his future career. Studies at the Accademia di S Cecilia in Rome and with Boulanger completed his education.

Barenboim made his British début as a soloist in 1955 and his American début two years later, and first conducted, in Israel, in 1962. From 1964 he worked for some years with the English Chamber Orchestra as conductor and pianist, recording with them symphonies by Mozart and Haydn, and a series of Mozart piano concertos. Meanwhile he began an international career as a conductor. He directed the South Bank Summer Festival in London (...

Article

Jehoash Hirshberg

(b Munich, Oct 1, 1897; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 14, 1984). Israeli composer of German birth. After serving in World War I, he graduated from the Munich Academy of Music (1920) where his teachers included Friedrich Klose (composition). He went on to hold the posts of choral director and vocal coach at the Bayerisches Staatstheater under Bruno Walter and, in 1924, became Kapellmeister of the Augsburg Opera. He was also active as a pianist. His early compositions, written during these years, include the String Trio (1927), which demonstrates his fondness for stylistic pluralism in its juxtaposition of extreme chromaticism and jazzy rhythms, and works that display the influence of Orientalism ( Pan , 1931) and neo-classicism (Concerto grosso, 1931). His friendship with the Jewish composer and organist Heinrich Schalit (1886–1976) led to the composition of a number of a cappella motets on biblical texts, culminating in a setting of Psalm cxxvi ‘Wenn der Herr’ (...

Article

Miri Gerstel

(b Jerusalem, Jan 22, 1954). Israeli composer. He studied composition at the Guildhall School in London (1978–9), with Mark Kopytman at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem (graduated 1983), and with George Crumb and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania (PhD, 1987). Since 1987 he has been teaching at the Rubin Academy. He was the chairman of the Israeli Composers' League (1994–5).

His compositions tend to amalgamate different styles, for example aleatory means and proportional notation in Rubaiyat (1982) and atonal, extreme chromaticism with heterophony in the Sinfonia cromatica (1993). In the latter, each of the three movements represents a family of colours (magenta, aquamarine and white light) and the chromatic scale is developed as an important motif. In the Elegy for Anna Frank he uses a metalphone, an instrument of his own invention made of 11 gongs of different sizes, to evoke the sound of a railway. Ben-Shabetai's compositions have been performed in Europe and in the USA....