1-20 of 91 Results  for:

  • Jewish Music x
  • The Americas x
Clear all


Marie Rolf


(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 ...


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 (...


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 (...


Larry Stempel

[Arluck, Hyman]

(b Buffalo, NY, Feb 15, 1905; d New York, April 23, 1986). American composer. The son of a cantor, he sang in the choir at his father’s synagogue as a child, and at the age of 15 played the piano in local movie houses and on excursion boats on Lake Erie. Smitten by the new and distinctively American popular music of the post-World War I period, he organized his own band, the Snappy Trio, and later joined another which (as the Buffalodians) went to New York in the mid-1920s. He made some band arrangements for Fletcher Henderson but worked mostly as a pianist and singer on radio, in theatre pit orchestras and in dance bands; he recorded as a singer with Benny Goodman, Red Nichols and Joe Venuti. In 1929 he began a songwriting collaboration with the lyricist Ted Koehler and achieved his first success with the song ‘Get Happy’, which appeared in the ...


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 ...


(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 (...


Gerald Bordman

revised by Thomas S. Hischak

[Baline, Israel]

(b Mogilyov, May 11, 1888; d New York, Sept 22, 1989). American composer of Russian birth. The son of an impoverished Jewish cantor, he was taken to America at the age of five. His father died when he was 13, and a year later he ran away from home, rather than be a burden to his mother. He sang for pennies outside cabarets, became a chorus boy, a stooge in vaudeville, a song plugger and a singing waiter. Berlin had no formal musical training, but taught himself to play the piano, if only in one key, F♯. He began churning out songs, usually serving as his own lyricist, and finally caught America’s ear with Alexander’s Ragtime Band in 1911.

Berlin had three phenomenally successful careers: he was one of Broadway’s most melodic composers, he scored some of Hollywood’s most beloved film musicals, and he was a Tin Pan Alley songwriter with more singles hits than any other composer. It was as a Tin Pan Alley composer that he found early success, but throughout his life he wrote many songs outside the context of a show or film. Among his popular hits were ...


David Fanning

(b Moscow, April 3, 1948). American pianist of Russian birth. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Lev Oborin from 1965 to 1971, and took part in the Russian premières of works by Ligeti, Berio, Stockhausen and Cage, as well as the first performances of Denisov’s Ode and Schnittke’s ...


Martin Stokes

(b Boscobel, WI, Aug 8, 1952). American ethnomusicologist. He received the BM in piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975, and the MM in 1980 and the PhD in 1984 in musicology and ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with Bruno Nettl and Alexander Ringer; he also studied for two years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with Amnon Shiloah, 1980–82. He was assistant professor at MacMurray College (1982–4) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (1985–7) before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he was appointed professor in 1999. He was visiting professor at the University of Vienna, 1995–6. In 1997 he was awarded the Dent medal.

Bohlman's work may be characterized as a sustained critique of modernity, canon-formation and the monumentalization of 19th-century Austro-German musical practice through an ethnographic engagement with the ‘others’ of Europe, whether on, or within its margins. His earlier work investigated music-making among immigrant Jews in early 20th-century Palestine; his later work brings ethnographic critique back to the centre, exploring popular religious, street and folk musics in Vienna and elsewhere in Central Europe. Other areas of research include immigrant and ‘ethnic’ folk musics in America, and the intellectual history of ethnomusicology. In addition to extensive publications in these areas, Bohlman is editor of the series Recent Researches in the Oral Traditions of Music and co-editor (with Bruno Nettl) of ‘Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology’....


[Conn, Catherine ]

(b New Orleans, LA, Sept 3, 1910; d New York, NY, April 17, 2007). American popular singer and actress of German Jewish heritage. She trained as a singer and actress in Europe and New York and began her career with appearances in Broadway musicals in the early 1930s. While continuing to perform on the stage, she starred in a number of Hollywood movies in the 1930s, famously alongside the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935). She also acted and sang with Bing Crosby in two movies. Carlisle married the playwright and theater director moss Hart in 1946. After taking some time off to raise her two children, Carlisle established a second career in television in the 1950s. She regularly appeared on the popular TV show “To Tell the Truth” between 1957 and 1978. Her career as a singer continued with her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Johann Strauss’s ...


Paula Morgan

revised by Adena Portowitz


(b New York, Oct 9, 1928). American and Israeli musicologist. She graduated in 1950 from Hunter College, CUNY, where Louise Talma was among her teachers. During the summers of 1950 and 1951 she studied music theory with Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau. She received the MA from Radcliffe College in 1952 and the PhD from Harvard University in 1963; at Harvard she studied theory with Piston and music history with Gombosi. Jan LaRue was her unofficial dissertation advisor together with Pirrotta. She taught at Vassar College from 1952–57, 1959–71 where she was promoted from instructor to professor. She was also visiting professor in eight music departments and music schools: the Harvard Summer School (1963), Northwestern University Summer School (1976), Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Summer 1977), Tel-Aviv University (1972), the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1973), the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (...


Bryce Morrison

(b Rio de Janeiro, April 22, 1948). Brazilian pianist of Russian-Jewish extraction. He studied with Jacques Klein (a student of William Kapell) in Rio de Janeiro and later with Bruno Seidlhofer and Dieter Weber in Vienna. In 1972 he won first prize in the Busoni International Competition and made his début at the Wigmore Hall, London. Wary of instant acclaim, however, he declined Deutsche Grammophon's offer of a contract and in 1976 returned to Brazil, where he gave concerts and taught maths and physics. A decisive change of direction came in 1981, when he replaced Martha Argerich at a concert in the Netherlands; his success in Bach's First Partita, Chopin's Four Ballades and Prokofiev's Seventh Sonata prompted his return to Europe. Cohen's distinctive elegance and dynamism create their own ambience, especially in the music of Liszt, several of whose works, including the rarely heard Grande fantaisie sur Les Huguenots...


Charles Barber and José A. Bowen

(b Bucharest, June 16, 1928; d Oklahoma City, March 5, 2005). Israeli and American conductor of Romanian birth. He studied the violin and conducting at the Bucharest Conservatory, continuing his conducting studies with Silvestri and Lindenberg. After his début with the Romanian State Opera with Faust in 1946, he joined the Bucharest Radio Quartet and the Romanian State Ensemble as a violinist, becoming musical director of the latter (1950–55). He was principal conductor of the Romanian State Opera (1955–9) in Bucharest and won the 1956 conducting competition in Besançon. He emigrated to Israel (becoming naturalized in 1959) and became musical director of the Haifa SO (1959–66) and founder-conductor of the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra (1960–67). He made his British début with the LPO in 1960, and his US début with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1965; his success led to many engagements as a guest conductor, including the Boston SO, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco SO, New York PO and the Berlin SO. His musical directorships included the Göteborg SO (...


Noel B. Zahler

(b Buenos Aires, March 4, 1934; d New York, Aug 23, 2019). American composer of Argentine birth. He studied the violin as a child and began to compose at the age of 13. Subsequently he studied composition, theory, and history in Buenos Aires, where his principal teacher was Graetzer. In 1958 he studied at the Berkshire Music Center with Copland and while there met Babbitt, who encouraged him to move to New York to work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. He taught at the University of Michigan (1964), the Instituto Torcuato di Tella of Buenos Aires (1965), the Manhattan School (1968–9), Yale University (1969–70), and City College, CUNY (1968–80). His association with Columbia University began in 1960 with his appointment as associate director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and ended with his tenure as professor of music (...


Henry Sapoznik

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 4, 1912; d Plantation, FL, March 18, 2000) American klezmer clarinetist, saxophonist, and violinist. Though born in the United States, he was considered an equal of the great European klezmer clarinetists such as Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein.

Beginning his career at age 12 playing violin for silent movies, Epstein mastered the clarinet and later the saxophone, and played regularly on the Yiddish stage, on the radio, and in concert. The Epstein Brothers, including Max, Willie (trumpet), Isidore, or “Chizik” (clarinet) and Julie (drums), dominated the New York Jewish music scene for nearly three decades. They are best known for their playing in the Hasidic community in postwar New York, where they became the pre-eminent orchestra. They issued several recordings, including the classic LP Dukes of Freilachland (1958).

After a disastrous investment in a Yiddish theater, Max and his brothers abandoned New York for Florida, where they continued to play for weddings and parties. The number of people who requested the music they had mastered steadily diminished throughout the 1960s, however. The renewed interest in klezmer music in the 1970s brought them out of retirement. Their career was further enhanced when keyboard player Pete Sokolow (...


Jeffrey Dean

[Laurentius, Lorenzo] (Karl Johann)

(b Berlin, April 5, 1909; d Campo di Trens, Jan 7, 1976). American musicologist of German descent, active in Italy. Through his father, the painter Lyonel Feininger, he grew up in Germany in an artistic environment and had close contacts among the Bauhaus school. He studied composition and the organ; 11 preludes and fugues for keyboard, composed in 1933–4, were published in 1972. At the University of Heidelberg he studied philosophy with Jaspers and musicology with Besseler, taking the doctorate in 1935 with a dissertation on the early history of the canon. His Jewish family fled Nazi harassment for the USA in 1937, and Feininger (who had been baptized in 1934) moved to Italy, settling in Trent in 1938 and devoting himself to the study of early sources of Catholic church music, especially the 15th-century Trent Codices. He was interned as an enemy alien in 1943–4; after the war he pursued theological studies in Trent and Rome and was ordained priest in ...


Annette Morreau

(b Kolomed [now Kolomyya, Ukraine], Nov 22, 1902; d New York, May 25, 1942). Austrian cellist, active in the USA. In 1909 his family moved to Vienna, where he studied with Anton Walter; he later continued his studies privately with Klengel in Leipzig (1917–19). At the age of 16, on Klengel's recommendation, Feuermann was appointed head of cello at the Cologne Conservatory, as well as cellist of the Gürzenich Quartet and principal cellist with the Gürzenich Orchestra. His successful career as a solo artist led him to resign his orchestral duties, and from 1923 to 1929 he toured continuously in Europe, including a recital tour in Russia with Artur Schnabel. In 1929 Feuermann succeeded Hugo Becker as professor of cello at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, and with Hindemith and Joseph Wolfsthal (later replaced by Szymon Goldberg) he formed a string trio. As a Jew, he was dismissed from his position in ...


Wesley Berg


(b Boston, June 30, 1942). Canadian composer and pianist of American birth. He studied at Boston University (BMus) and Michigan State University (MMus; PhD), and has taught at the University of Western Ontario, Acadia University, the University of Alberta (chair, 1986–9) and Queen's University, where he was director 1990–97. His compositional style has been described as post-Schoenbergian, employing a chromaticism controlled both by a limited number of pitch class sets and a sense of tonal hierarchy (Lewis, 1993). Many of his works are confessional. His fascination with the Canadian North has resulted in compositions such as Cry Wolf (1977), after a Cree Indian legend. In 1980 he began to explore themes from Jewish culture and history in works such as Morning: Peniel (1980), Zakhor: Remember (1983) and Small Worlds (1984). Several of these interests come together in Six Fantasy Pieces...


Jehoash Hirshberg

(b Haifa, 1946). Israeli composer and musicologist. She studied at the Music Teachers’ Training College (Tel-Aviv), the Rubin Academy (Jerusalem), New York University (MA 1975), and Bar-Ilan University (PhD in musicology 1995). She also studied Arabic language (classical and spoken dialects), culture, and history, and Hebrew linguistics at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1969–72). In 1996 she was appointed to a post at the Music Teachers’ Training College.

Fleisher is a very prolific and diverse composer. The ideology of East-West synthesis, which has concerned many Israeli composers, has been deeply ingrained in Fleischer’s personality. Her admiration for the qualities of Arabic poetry has found its expression in a series of settings that smoothly alternate between Western and Arabic idioms, as in the Ballad of Expected Death in Cairo. The trilingual Oratorio 1492–1992, written in commemoration of the expulsion of Jews from Spain, shifts freely between atonal and tonal harmonies, monophonic cantillation, and patterns borrowed from Spanish folk music. Her aesthetic attitude is best represented by her Hexaptichon, six versions of settings and interpretations of ‘I’m Sick of You’, a powerful Arabic poem by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, ranging from a vocal performance in pure Arabic style (especially as recorded by the superb vocalist Etti ben Zaken) to a Western, two-piano version, and mixed East-West versions for string quartet, a cappella choir, and baroque ensemble....


Ben Arnold

(b Florence, SC, May 23, 1917; d Boston, Feb 7, 1977). American pianist and teacher. He began his studies with Walter Goldstein in New Orleans. At the age of ten he entered the Curtis Institute, where he was a pupil of Isabelle Vengerova and David Saperton (diploma 1938). In 1940 he became the first winner of the Leventritt Award, and in 1941 he made his début with the New York PO in Carnegie Hall, performing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. He then embarked on an international career, making tours of the USA, Europe, Israel and Japan; in 1964 he performed 16 concerts in the Soviet Union. One of the first internationally renowned pianists to teach at an American state university, Foster held positions at Florida State University (1949–51) and then at Indiana University (1952–77), where he developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher. His playing was remarkable for its virtuosity and his repertory notable for including lesser-known works of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He made several recordings for the Musical Heritage Society, including two Mozart Concertos, Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ Sonata and Schumann’s ...