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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 ...


(b Kolozsvár [now Cluj-Napoca], Aug 16, 1907; d Tel-Aviv, Nov 5, 1964). Israeli composer and music critic of Hungarian origin. He grew up in a highly religious family – some of his forebears were Hassidic rabbis – which originated from the Moravian town Boskovice. Educated at the Jewish lyceum Tarbut in Cluj during the period in which it briefly flourished before forced Romanization and repression of the Jews in Transylvania, he studied the piano with Hevesi Piroska and then in Vienna with Victor Ebenstein. In 1927 he took advanced studies in Paris with Lazar Levi (piano), Dukas (composition) and Boulanger, which shaped his predilection for French music, in particular Debussy and Milhaud. Back in Cluj, he became, in 1930, one of the conductors of the State Opera and founded a fine Jewish amateur orchestra named after Karl Goldmark. In 1937 he contributed to a volume on Jewish topics with a study of contemporary Jewish music, the revival of which he related to the Russian influence on music after Wagner. He followed Sabaneyev’s example in regarding the collection and publication of Jewish folksong as a prerequisite for the emergence of such a music, stressing the linear, non-harmonic nature of Jewish musical expression. Concurrent with the essay, he composed ...


Edith Gerson-Kiwi

revised by Bret Werb

[Yuly Dmitrevich]

(b Berdyansk, Crimea, 4/April 16, 1868; d Tel-Aviv, Feb 11, 1927). Russian composer, critic, lexicographer and folklorist. He studied law at Kharkov University but soon turned to music, studying theory and composition with Taneyev and Ippolitov-Ivanov at the Moscow Conservatory (1893–7). From 1897 to 1919 he worked as a music critic for the newspaper Russkiye vedomosti. In 1901 his translation of Riemann’s Lexikon into Russian with newly written sections on Russian music was published in Moscow. Although an early opera, Esther, was performed in 1894, his work as a critic overshadowed that as a composer. Under the influence of the Russian nationalist music critic Vladimir Stasov, however, he turned his attention to Jewish folklore, collecting, arranging, performing and publishing the songs of eastern European Jews. In 1909 his first album of ten Jewish folksongs appeared in Moscow; a second volume followed later in the same year. Engel continued to promote his new interest with public lectures and a series of articles in ...


Hans Åstrand

(b Helsinki, Sept 21, 1893; d Gustavsberg, nr Stockholm, March 5, 1977). Swedish composer and music critic of Finnish birth. Compared with his Swedish colleagues (he became a Swedish citizen in 1918) Pergament had a cosmopolitan background and training: he was born into a Jewish family; he studied in St Petersburg as a violinist (and served as such for four years in the Helsinki Philharmonic Society) and in Berlin at the Stern Conservatory; he also trained as an opera conductor; and he spent much of the interwar period in Berlin and Paris before settling permanently in Stockholm. There he worked steadily as a composer and as one of the city's most influential and trenchant music critics, with some part-time choral and orchestral conducting.

The varied experiences of Pergament's formative years gave him a breadth of perspective which is obvious in his vast output and which sets him apart from his compatriots. His interest in Russian music (particularly Musorgsky) and German Expressionism is balanced with Impressionist touches and later French traits, notably from Les Six. Besides this, some of his most important works treat Jewish themes and are partly influenced by Hebrew cantillation. ...


Jehoash Hirshberg

(b Russia, 1899; d Tel Aviv, 1968). Israeli critic, choral conductor and composer of Russian birth. In 1925, soon after his emigration to Palestine, he was appointed music critic of the newly founded socialist daily Davar, a position he retained throughout his life. He changed his surname from Rabinowitz to the more Hebrew Ravina in 1930. His frequent and detailed reviews, which insisted on a high standard of performance and programming, and sought a genuine Jewish musical style, were highly influential. In an attempt to bring music to the people, he collaborated with David Shor on an ambitious education project that included public lectures, the publication of popular music appreciation booklets and song anthologies, and the establishment of a nation-wide network of amateur choirs. He was also a strong supporter of contemporary music in Palestine. His many songs (around 60), mostly written for young children, were intended as part of a newly composed folksong repertory....


Edward Garden and Stuart Campbell

(b St Petersburg, 11/Jan 23, 1820; d St Petersburg, 20 Jan/Feb 1, 1871). Russian composer and critic. Although he never occupied any official position, never taught, and belonged to no organized group or faction, Serov was one of the most significant and, except for Anton Rubinstein, the most influential Russian musician of the 1860s. His critical writings are unrivalled in his country’s literature for breadth and weight. Many of his essays have been reprinted numerous times and have continued to exert a strong authority. His operas were the outstanding contributions to the Russian musical stage between Dargomïzhsky’s Rusalka and the early works of Tchaikovsky and The Five. They have not survived in the repertory.

Serov’s mother was of German-Jewish origin, his father a distinguished civil servant. He was educated at the School of Jurisprudence, where music was encouraged. There he became friendly with fellow student Vladimir Stasov, four years his junior, with whom he later quarrelled irrevocably. He left the school in ...


Richard Evidon

revised by Tamara Levitz

(b Vienna, Nov 28, 1881; d Petrópolis, Brazil, Feb 22, 1942). Austrian writer . In his day a leading European literary figure, he was exceptionally cultivated and had deep humanistic sympathies. His active pacifism dates from his exile in Zürich (1917–18), during which time he met several noteworthy musical figures. After the war he became one of the more highly regarded, widely read and translated Austrian writers of his generation. In 1934 he emigrated to England, and in 1941 settled in Brazil. Distraught at the persecution of the Jews, Zweig committed suicide, together with his wife, in 1942.

His writings include several on musicians – Busoni, Toscanini and Bruno Walter, who were his close friends (Berg was another), as well as Handel, Mahler and Richard Strauss. His significance for music history lies largely in his collaboration with Strauss, which began in 1932. Only one work was produced, the comic opera ...