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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

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

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

Stephen Plaistow

(Davidovich)

(b Gor′kiy [now Nizhniy Novgorod], July 6, 1937). Russian pianist and conductor, naturalized Icelandic. He was born into a musical Jewish family and entered the Moscow Central School of Music in 1945; his teacher there for the next ten years was Anaida Sumbatyan. His first major recital, devoted entirely to Chopin, was in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in April 1955, and later that year he gained second prize at the fifth Warsaw International Chopin Competition. In 1956, now a pupil of Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory, he was awarded first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. While still a student he made his first tour outside the USSR the following year, to East and West Germany. After graduating, it was inescapable that he should be groomed for the second International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1962 (the American Van Cliburn having won the first), and he duly restored national honour by carrying off a shared first prize (with John Ogdon). His London début followed in ...

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

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

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

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

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 (...

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 (...

Article

Paul Griffiths

revised by Jeremy Drake

(b Vienna, Nov 17, 1892; d Paris, Nov 22, 1982). French composer, teacher and conductor of Austrian origin. He studied at the University of Vienna (1910–15) and with Schoenberg (1913–20), also serving in World War I. During the 1920s he worked as a theatre conductor in several European countries and composed large orchestral scores for Pabst’s Die freudlose Gasse and Der Schatz. In Berlin in 1923, following the example of Schoenberg's Verein für Musikalische Privataufführungen, he founded an orchestra for private performances. He moved to Paris in 1924, and there gave the French premières of works by Schoenberg, Webern and Berg (including the Kammerkonzert in 1927). He also founded Le Miroir Jiddish, a Jewish theatre ensemble, which gave concerts in England. In 1934 he took up a chair at the University of Madrid, where he was musical director for the Casa Cinematográfica Aranjuez, but the civil war forced his return to Paris the next year. He then worked as a pianist and revue composer before volunteering for service in the French Foreign Legion (...

Article

Noël Goodwin

revised by Charles Barber

[Barabeichik, Ishok Israelevich]

(b Nizhniy Novgorod, Feb 27, 1891; d Oslo, Dec 9, 1953). Norwegian conductor of Russian birth. He made his début as a pianist when he was five years old, and at the age of nine entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied piano with Igumnov and composition with Taneyev. After further study in Vienna with Leopold Godowsky, he began teaching in Moscow and conducting at the opera, but left after the Revolution to work in Germany, and in 1922 conducted Boris Godunov at the Dresden Staatsoper. He held opera and concert appointments at Berlin and Dresden (from 1924), the Sofia National Opera (1927–8), San Francisco (1930–34, with Basil Cameron) and the Hungarian State Opera (1936–9). He was also guest conductor of the Minneapolis SO, New York PO and Philadelphia Orchestra. In each centre he made Russian music his calling card. At the outbreak of war Dobroven moved to Oslo and took Norwegian citizenship; in ...

Article

Andrew D. McCredie

[Wolf, Markus]

(b Lemberg [now L′viv], Dec 27, 1874; d Basle, July 19, 1951). German composer and conductor. He studied the piano with Herzogenberg in Berlin, and harmony and composition with Rheinberger and Thuille in Munich. After brief engagements as Kapellmeister in Saarbrücken (1906–7) and Lübeck (1910–11), productions of his ballet Rialon (Munich, 1911) and his opera Judith (Nuremberg, 1921) gained him recognition as a composer. He resumed his conducting career in Leipzig in 1920 and later conducted in Berlin (1929–33). In these years Ettinger showed a particular fondness for the Literaturoper, writing operas based on texts by Boccaccio, Friedrich Hebbel, Georg Kaiser, Goethe, Frank Wedekind and Emile Zola.

In 1933 the political situation in Germany forced Ettinger, a descendant of Eastern European Jews, to emigrate to Switzerland. There he began to compose Bekenntnis music in opposition to the Third Reich. Among these works are oratorios and cantatas on Jewish themes and texts, such as ...

Article

Christiane Spieth-Weissenbacher and Noël Goodwin

(b Rouen, April 14, 1913; d Netherlands, November 3, 2008). French conductor. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his début at Rouen in 1936. His first appointments were there (1938) and in Marseilles (1940), and from 1944 to 1957 he was music director at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. He taught conducting at the Ecole Normale, Paris, 1944–62, and was conductor of the Netherlands RPO 1961–8, and artistic director of the Rotterdam PO, 1968–73. Fournet toured as a guest conductor in Europe, North and South America, Israel and Japan; he conducted the first performance in Tokyo (1958) of Pelléas et Mélisande. He made his début with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1965, and at the Metropolitan in 1987 with Samson et Dalila. Admired for his meticulous and exacting craftsmanship, he had a wide repertory that laid particular emphasis on Berlioz, Debussy and Ravel, and he had been much praised for his performances of ...

Article

Claudio Casini

(b Milan, May 3, 1910). Italian conductor and composer. He studied first with his father Arnaldo Galliera (1871–1934), a composer and teacher of organ composition at the Parma Conservatory, and then at the Milan Conservatory, where he graduated in the piano, the organ and composition; in 1932 he obtained a lectureship there in the organ and organ composition. He made his conducting début at Rome in 1941 with the orchestra of the Accademia di S Cecilia. After a period in Switzerland during World War II he resumed his career in 1945 with a concert at the Lucerne Festival. He subsequently pursued his career mainly in other countries, with tours in Europe, Israel, North and South America, South Africa and Australia. From 1957 to 1960 he was resident conductor at the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa, and from 1964 to 1972 was artistic director and resident conductor of the Strasbourg municipal orchestra. He made several recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra including ...

Article

Yohanan Boehm

revised by Nathan Mishori

(b Warsaw, July 11, 1913; d Tel-Aviv, Dec 23, 1985). Israeli composer and conductor of Polish origin. He graduated with honours in the violin (1935) and conducting (1936) at the Warsaw State Conservatory. Conducting studies continued at the Accademia S Cecilia (with Molinari) and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena (with Casella); later in Switzerland he studied conducting with Scherchen and composition with Burkhard. Gelbrun played the violin and the viola with the Warsaw PO (1935–7), for Radio Lausanne (1941–4) and with the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra (1944–8). After emigrating to Israel in 1949 he devoted his time to conducting and composition. He was permanent guest conductor with the Israel RSO (1949–53), chief conductor of the Israel Youth Orchestra (1950–56) and chief conductor of the Inter-Kibbutz SO (1950–55); he was then made professor of composition and conducting at the Academy of Music of the University of Tel-Aviv....

Article

Richard Wang

[Benjamin] (David)

(b Chicago, May 30, 1909; d New York, June 13, 1986). American clarinettist, composer and bandleader.

Goodman received rudimentary musical training from 1919 at Chicago’s Kehelah Jacob Synagogue and, more importantly, two years of instruction from the classically trained clarinettist Franz Schoepp. He made his professional début in 1921. During his formative years he absorbed the music of the New Orleans musicians; he was particularly influenced by Leon Roppolo, the clarinettist with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. In summer 1923 he met Bix Beiderbecke whose influence may be heard in Goodman’s on-the-beat attacks, careful choice of notes and across-the-bar phrasing on A Jazz Holiday (1928, Voc.) and Blue (1928, Bruns.) – especially on the latter, where Goodman played solos on both alto and baritone saxophone. In August 1925 Goodman left for Los Angeles to join Ben Pollack. Pollack’s band returned to Chicago in January 1926 and early in ...

Article

Thomas L. Gayda

[Will; Williams, Hugh; Milos, André]

(b Vienna, Aug 11, 1894; d New York, Dec 10, 1939). Austrian composer, pianist and conductor. Born into a Jewish family of jewellers, he studied with the operetta composer Richard Heuberger, Robert Fuchs, the musicologist Guido Adler and Franz Schreker. After he left the Vienna Music Academy in 1919, his Zwei phantastische Stücke was given its first performance by the Vienna PO. The following year he received a doctorate in music from Vienna University. While he remained initially faithful to the late-Romantic, Impressionist line, he became the first Austrian composer to introduce jazz idioms into his music. His grotesque ballet-pantomime Baby in der Bar (1928) marked him as one of the prime exponents of the Zeitgeist of the Weimar era.

In 1927 Grosz moved to Berlin and became the artistic director of the new Ultraphon record company, quickly building up its catalogue as a conductor, arranger and pianist. He formed a well-known piano duo with Wilhelm Kauffman and toured Europe as a highly-sought accompanist and conductor. When the National Socialists seized power in ...