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Don Harrán

(b Cesena, 1515; d Padua, 1611). Italian grammarian, poet and rabbi. He refers to music in his treatise on Hebrew grammar, ‘Arugat ha-bosem’ (‘Bed of spices’), which survives in both a manuscript ( GB-Lbl Add.27011) and a printed source (Venice, 1602). Subjects of special relevance to music include accentuation, metres and poetical forms. Under accentuation, Archivolti describes the biblical accents (ta‘amei ha-miqra), or melodic formulae used in cantillating the scriptures for marking the syntax and word stresses. Their purpose is to elucidate and embellish the text, thus increasing its hold on the soul. Referring to poetry, Archivolti draws a sharp distinction between the biblical (prose or psalmodic) texts for cantillation and the metric poetry for singing piyyutim, or post-biblical sacred hymns. His preference is for cantillation, which he calls ‘excellent music’ (ha-nigun ha-meshuba ), for it is adapted to the words in their structure and content. By comparison, the music for ...


Anne Beetem Acker

Experimental electronic instrument designed at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile by Claudio Bertin, Gabriel de Ioannes, Alvaro Sylleros, Rodrigo Cádiz, and Patricio de la Cuadra. First described publicly in 2010, it has an interface that responds to the user’s natural gestures, improves the audience observation experience, is easy to master, and allows exploration of tonal and rhythmic possibilities. The novel design methodology centred on formal analysis of video recordings of a focus group discussing characteristics of instruments and performance, as well as of video recordings of individual gestural responses to eight categories of sounds of diverse timbre, pitch, and dynamics. The results were used to describe the characteristics of the instrument being designed and to create mock-ups that led to the Arcontinuo. The instrument’s playing surface resembles a curved board that is placed vertically on the performer’s chest, with straps securing it over the shoulders and a prop resting against the player’s stomach. The board’s flexible magnetic surface measures three-dimensional data from several fingers simultaneously, using an embedded grid of Hall effect sensors. Software interprets the results to produce the sounds....


Talila Eliram

[Abramovich, Aleksander ]

(b Moscow, Oct 26, 1914; d Tel Aviv, Sept 27, 1995). Israeli popular music composer. His family name was Abramovich, but he changed it to the Hebrew name Argov in 1946, 12 years after emigrating to Israel. He was known as Sasha. His mother was a professional pianist and his father a dentist. Argov began to play the piano at the age of three and a half, and when he was six he began composing songs which his mother wrote down for him. He had no formal training in music, and in his adult life music was not his main source of income – he worked as a bank clerk and later owned a bookshop – but composing was always his mission in life.

He wrote approximately 1200 songs including songs for military and civilian entertainment troupes, and songs with piano accompaniment. He accompanied some performances of his songs, and emphasized that in his music the piano plays an important part in creating an atmosphere and illustrating the meaning of the text; he ascribed considerable importance to the relationship between text and music, and attempted to represent words in music using frequent changes of rhythm and metre. He also composed several musicals and film scores; his most famous musical was ...


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 ...


Jean Gribenski

(b Düsseldorf, Aug 16, 1930). Israeli and French ethnomusicologist . After studying the french horn with Jean Devémy at the Paris Conservatoire (1951–4), he was first horn in the Israel Broadcasting Authority SO in Jerusalem (1958–63). In 1963 he founded the Musée National Boganda at Bangui in the Central African Republic, and was its director until 1967, and on returning to Paris he undertook musicological studies with Chailley at the Sorbonne (1968–73). He entered the CNRS in 1968 and his subsequent career has been with that institution. In 1993 he was appointed lecturer at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He was an associate professor at Tel-Aviv University (1979–83) and music director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (1980–82). He has been awarded the Grand Prix International du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros (1971, 1978 and ...


Stephen Plaistow


(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 ...


William Y. Elias

Opera in two acts (16 scenes) by Josef Tal to a libretto (in Hebrew) by Israel Eliraz; Hamburg, Städtische Oper, 9 November 1971 (in German).

Inspired by an ancient Talmudic legend, and an allegory about totalitarianism, the opera is set in an idyllic, peaceful country. The King (lyric baritone) hates the Queen (mezzo-soprano), whom he married only to prevent war with her father, and is in love with the Landlady (soprano). In Act 1, the devil Ashmedai (tenor) appears one night to the King and suggests that if he, Ashmedai, could rule as king for a year, he could turn the peace-loving citizens into bloodthirsty savages while the King could live happily with the Landlady. The King has such faith in his people that he agrees to the bet, but as soon as Ashmedai assumes the physical traits of the King and ascends the throne the citizens turn into intolerant, aggressive killers. A terrible war breaks out, causing total destruction. In Act 2, Ashmedai has won his bet, but the real King refuses to reclaim the throne because his faith in his people has been shattered. Ashmedai changes into a rooster and is devoured, unknowingly, by the Queen and her entourage. The King returns to his throne but refuses to continue the war, despite the advice of his Son (tenor), the commander of the army, and is lynched by the furious masses. Ashmedai appears to the people but they refuse to believe the truth. In an apocalyptic scene the physical world disintegrates, leaving only the King’s naked body with his anguished, faithful Daughter (soprano) leaning over him....


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 ...




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 (...