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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

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

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

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....

Article

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 ...

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

Jehoash Hirshberg

(b Breslau, Jan 18, 1922; d Tel Aviv, August 27, 2014). Israeli composer. His parents settled in Palestine in 1923. After studying at the Israel Academy of Music with Alexander Boskovitch, among others, he was appointed to teach there when it merged with Tel-Aviv University in 1966. In 1975 he completed the MA in classical studies at the University, and studied Gregorian chant with Dom Jean Claire at Solesmes. He served as a jury member for prizes in Gregorian chant at the Conservatoire National Supérieur, Paris (1990, 1996, 1997).

In his early works Braun adopted the ideology of a national Israeli music, merging folklike dance patterns with cantillation motifs and modal chromaticism, as in his transparent Piano Sonata (1957). During the late 1950s and 1960s he composed several 12-note compositions, such as the Prelude and Passacaglia for harp (1967), retaining his predilection for simple melodic lines and consonant harmonies within the dodecaphonic context. Later works are more stylistically diverse. His Piano Trio no.1 (...

Article

Alla Vladimirovna Grigor′yeva

(b Moscow, Feb 25, 1952). Russian composer. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory where he studied composition with Khrennikov; he completed his postgraduate studies in 1981 and had become a member of the Composers’ Union in 1979. Notable landmarks in his career were the premières of his ballets Optimistichskaya tragediya (‘An Optimistic Tragedy’) and Ukroshcheniye stropivoy (‘The Taming of the Shrew’) at the Stanislavsky–Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre in Moscow (1985, 1996) and the performance of the Yevreyskiy rekviem (‘Jewish Requiem’) in Germany in 1994.

Bronner writes music predominantly for the theatre and makes extensive use of theatrical elements in other genres: the monumental examples of this can be found in Yevreyskiy rekviem for soloists, chorus and orchestra in which he sets a poem by Chaim Byalik in Yiddish alongside prayers, the address of Maimonid in Tvrit, lines from the diary of Anne Frank, lyric poetry from the Song of Songs...

Article

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...

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

Ronit Seter

(b Haifa, Dec 7, 1957). Israeli composer, active in the USA. She studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv University (BA 1982) with Abel Ehrlich, Sadai and others, in Berlin with Schnebel (1983), at Bard College (MFA 1987), where her teachers included Eli Yarden, and at the University of California at San Diego (PhD 1993) with Roger Reynolds, Ferneyhough and others. She has taught at the Darmstadt summer courses (1990–98), where she received the Kranichstein prize (1992), and at the University of California, San Diego (from 1997). Her other honours include an Asahi Shimbun Fellowship for a year residency in Tokyo (1993–4), a year residency at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart (1996), a Heinrich Strobel Stiftung Fellowship (1997–9) and a commission for Ensemble Intercomtemporain employing IRCAM technology (1998)....

Article

Nathan Mishori

[Avraham]

(b Berlin, Oct 17, 1929). Israeli composer of German birth. He moved to Palestine with his parents in 1934 and began studies of the piano in 1945 and the oboe in 1947. Blinded in the [Israel] War of Independence of 1948, he studied theory and composition privately with Hajos for three years, and he graduated from the Israel Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv, in 1953. Two years later he had a string quartet, a piano sonata and some songs publicly performed. Parts of these works showed a personal expressive quality, which reached a highpoint in the sombre orchestral Alei yagon va’nocham (‘Metamorphosis of Grief and Consolation’). Earlier tendencies toward fast chromatic modulations developed into atonal writing in the piano Capriccio, the String Trio and the Lea Goldberg Songs (1962); the influences of Prokofiev and Bartók gave place to those of Schoenberg. The dodecaphony ruling the Movimenti quasi sonata...

Article

Kay Edwards

[Blue Butterfly ]

(b Madison, WI, June 4, 1959). American composer and flutist of Mohican descent (enrolled member of Stockbridge Band of Mohican Nation). He earned degrees in music composition from Northern Illinois University (BM 1981) and Arizona State University (MM 1990) and a separate degree in American Indian Religious Studies from Arizona State University (MA 1992). Davids merges his classical training in Western music with Native American elements that have been nurtured by many visits to Stockbridge Munsee Reservation, where his father was raised; in many of his pieces, native percussion can be heard alongside European instruments to create a colorful musical tapestry. Davids is also a concert flutist, famous for performing on his signature handmade quartz crystal flutes, as well as standard flute and native wooden flutes. He has written commissioned works for the National Symphony Orchestra’s 60th anniversary, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Chanticleer, Zeitgeist, the Kronos Quartet, the Miró String Quartet, and the Joffrey Ballet. He has received awards from In-Vision, Meet the Composer, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, among others. In ...