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Edward Greenfield

[Priwin, Andreas Ludwig]

(b Berlin, April 6, 1929; d Manhattan, NY, Feb 28, 2019). American conductor, pianist, and composer of German birth. Son of a prosperous lawyer who was also a talented amateur musician, he showed exceptional musical talent from his earliest years. Playing piano duets with his father, he quickly developed phenomenal sight-reading ability, and at the age of six entered the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, studying the piano with Rudolf Breithaupt. In 1938 his family (of Russian-Jewish origin) left Germany for Paris, where he studied briefly at the Conservatoire. Emigrating to the USA the following year, the family settled in Los Angeles, where in 1943 he became an American citizen. While still at school he quickly learnt to use his talents as a pianist, playing accompaniments to silent films in a cult movie house and later becoming an orchestrator at the MGM film studios. This led to commissions to write film music of his own, which – following the practice of the studios – he had to conduct himself. This, in turn, fostered an ambition to conduct more widely, and he was soon conducting local performances of the classical repertory with players from the studio orchestras. Meanwhile he was developing a talent for playing jazz, and while still at school was performing in clubs, soon afterwards making his first recordings. At the same time he took composition lessons, with Joseph Achron, Ernst Toch, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco among his teachers, and was invited by the violinist Josef Szigeti to play in private performances of chamber music. Previn was called up for army service in ...

Article

William Y. Elias

revised by Irina Boga

(b Iaşi, April 17, 1929; d Jerusalem, 9 May, 2009). Romanian-born Israeli conductor, composer, and violinist. He studied the violin (with Garabet Avakian) and conducting (with Constantin Silvestri) at the Bucharest Academy of Music (1945–7). In 1957 Rodan pursued advanced studies in conducting and chamber music at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. He made his début with the Romanian RSO in 1953. In 1961 he moved to Israel and conducted the Israel PO, becoming chief conductor and music adviser to the Israel Broadcasting SO (1963–72). As a conductor he preferred post-Romantic and less extreme contemporary music. In 1965 he founded the Jerusalem Chamber Orchestra and, as its permanent conductor until 1969, toured with it to Europe, East Asia, Australia, South Africa, and the USA. Rodan appeared as a guest with various European orchestras and frequently conducted at the Israel and Arthur Rubinstein festivals, with such soloists as Rubinstein himself, Barenboim, Rampal, Perlman, and du Pré. In ...

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

[Kar’el]

(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer, conductor, singer and keyboard player of German birth. He studied the organ with Philipp Wofrum and composition with Richard Strauss. From 1920 to 1926 he held the position of conductor at the Hamburg Neues Stadt-Theater, and from 1931 to 1932 was baritone and stage director at the Deutsche Musikbühne. He emigrated to Palestine in 1933, where he was appointed programme director of the newly founded Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS, later Kol Israel [‘The Voice of Israel’]), a position he held until his retirement in 1962; he founded the PBS Orchestra (later the Kol Israel Orchestra) in 1938.

Many of Salomon’s early works were destroyed. His music from 1933 is tonal with modal inflections, combining European traditions with folk influences to create a light, accessible style. The Sepharadic Suite (1961) incorporates Spanish melodies; popular material is also used in the Second Symphony ‘Leilot be’Cna’an (‘Nights of Canaan’, ...

Article

William Y. Elias

(b Prague, Aug 6, 1908; d Tel-Aviv, Sept 30, 1980). Israeli conductor, composer and pianist of Czech birth. At the Prague Music Academy (1924–6) he studied the piano with Franz Langer and Ervin Schulhoff, and composition with Zemlinsky, winning a piano competition there in 1925. His début as an opera conductor was in 1926 at the Neues Deutsches Theater, Prague, with Kienzl’s Der Evangelimann. He conducted there until 1930, when he went to Hamburg to conduct the Staatsoper. In 1934 he returned to Prague, where he gave the first radio performance of the concert version of Dvořák’s first opera, Alfred. In 1939 he settled in Palestine and in December that year he first conducted the Palestine SO; he later became permanent guest conductor of this orchestra, and also of the Israel Broadcasting SO, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Haifa SO. He was among the founders in ...

Article

Vivian Perlis

(b Kiev, Oct 24, 1897; d New York, Jan 10, 1982). American composer, pianist and conductor of Ukrainian birth, father of Yehudi Wyner. In 1914 he emigrated to the USA, where he became an accompanist and coach to prominent singers in New York, while studying composition with Frederick Jacobi, Robert Russell Bennett and Joseph Schillinger. He also conducted several choruses, among them the Workmen’s Circle Chorus (1930–67). From 1930 to 1975 he was music director of the Central Synagogue, and in that capacity was responsible for first performances of compositions by Ernest Bloch, Darius Milhaud and Joseph Achron, as well as of his own works.

A leading exponent of Jewish music in the USA and an expert on Yiddish art song, Weiner taught seminars at Hebrew Union College, the Jewish Theological Seminary and the 92nd Street Y. He served as music director of the WABC weekly radio programme ‘The Message of Israel’ for 35 years (from ...