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Michal Ben-Zur

(b Tel-Aviv, Jan 9, 1927). Israeli cellist and teacher. He studied at the academies in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, at the Juilliard School in New York and with Pablo Casals. In 1953 he won the Piatigorsky Prize, and he also won prizes in the International Cello Competition in Moscow and the Pablo Casals International Competition in Israel. Wiesel was the first to perform the full cycle of Bach's cello suites in Israel, as well as concertos by Berio, Ligeti and Lutosławski. As dedicatee he has given the first performances and made recordings of concertos and pieces for unaccompanied cello by many Israeli composers. Wiesel was also a founder member of the Tel-Aviv String Quartet (1959–93). He was appointed professor at the music department of Tel-Aviv University in 1965, and has taught many of Israel's leading cellists. He has given masterclasses in cello and chamber music internationally, and has been a jury member in international cello competitions. He specializes in Baroque repertory, and has contributed many articles to ...

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Natan Shahar

(b Warsaw, April 17, 1910; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 2, 1997). Israeli composer of Polish birth . Through the Zionist youth movement Ha-shomer ha-sa‘ir he met Isaac Adel, who founded and conducted a youth choir that sang Hebrew songs. Adel had a huge influence upon Wilensky, directing him towards study in composition and conducting at the Warsaw State Conservatory. On the completion of his studies in 1932, Wilensky emigrated to Palestine. Working as a pianist in the Mandate (Broom) Theatre, he became acquainted with the Yemeni singer Esther Gamlilit. He wrote a few songs for her in a typical Yemeni style. He also composed music for the documentary film company Carmel. In 1944 he was appointed in-house composer of the Li-la-lo theatre company. There he met the singer Shoshana Damari, who subsequently became the distinguished performer of his songs. During the Independence War, Wilensky and Damari toured and entertained troops; after the war in ...

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Jehoash Hirshberg

(b Tel-Aviv, March 4, 1960). Israeli composer. He studied composition at the Rubin Academy, Jerusalem, and at Cambridge University (MA 1994). He is profoundly attached to the socialist ideology of the founders of the secular Jewish community in Israel, to modern Hebrew poetry, and to an ardent belief in the educational and human properties of music. This led him to settle in the kibbutz Sdeh Boker, where he founded a regional music school. He has also taught at the High School of Sciences and the Arts (from 1991 on) and at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem (after 1996).

By means of diverse stylistic strategies and richly connotative quotation, Wolpe delivers his ideological messages and comments. His highly individual idiom is exemplified in works such as the Trio (1996), in which dense dodecaphonic writing contrasts with a lyrical folk-like tune and ironic quotation of modern pop music, or in his ...

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J. Richard Haefer

[xaws mewktses]

Scallop-shell rattle of indigenous peoples of the North American northwest coast. The term literally means ‘shellfish rattle’ in the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw language; xaws mewktses means ‘new rattle’ in Salish. It exists in two forms: (1) A number of scallop shells strung on a long cord, with the concave sides of pairs of shells facing each other; the rattle is shaken by hand; (2) Two pairs of shells tied to cord held in a dancer’s fist. The rattles are said to have come to the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw from the Coast Salish of Comox and are used in the ...

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Burt J. Levy

(b Timişoara, May 26, 1937). Israeli-American composer of Romanian birth. He emigrated to Israel in 1951 where he studied with Boskovitch (1959–64). Soon considered one of Israel's leading avant-garde composers, a Fulbright Fellowship enabled him to pursue further studies at Brandeis University (MFA 1966), where his teachers included Arthur Berger and Ernst Krenek, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (DMA 1974) where he studied with Salvatore Martirano, among others. His doctoral dissertation on the music of Ligeti and Varèse proved influential to his later compositional style. In 1970 he joined the composition department at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and in 1971 founded the Music from Almost Yesterday concert series, dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. He has appeared as a guest lecturer, composer and conductor at festivals and conferences in the USA, Europe and Brazil. While his creative roots are European, by the early 1980s his music had become increasingly American. His compositions favour a postmodern synthesis of elements of 20th-century modernism and a concern for the ‘here and now’....

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Gerard McBurney

(b Tashkent, May 28, 1934). Russian composer. Born to Russian-speaking parents of partly Polish-Jewish extraction, he studied the violin and composition at the Tashkent Conservatory, graduating in 1957 and 1959 respectively. He pursued a career as a violinist for a while: firstly in the Uzbek State SO (from 1954) and later as a member of the Uzbek Radio String Quartet. In 1961 he was appointed to teach at the Tashkent Conservatory and subsequently became professor of composition there. His works immediately suggest that he is a composer of Western sympathies – he has written symphonies, string quartets, set Latin texts from the Catholic tradition and written an opera after Anouilh. But given that he has spent his life in Asia, this alliance is in fact unusual and not typical of his background. Although Western music exerted a strong appeal on Soviet composers during the period during his younger years, Yanov-Yanovsky was doubly isolated by his existence in the then musically provincial Tashkent. His creative reaction to this political and geographical isolation was not protest but a patient construction of very personal musical bridges which reach out towards the European and even Russian traditions to which he felt closest and from which he might otherwise be separated. The result is a language of subtle culture and emotional generosity, in which surface modesty and reticence mask impressive strength and commitment of utterance. His particularly muscular and passionate string writing reflects his experience of playing the symphonic and chamber music of the Austro-Germanic tradition. It would, however, be wrong to suggest that he has ignored the Asiatic traditions which surround him: he has set texts by Asian writers and, more importantly and generally, he has brought an Eastern perspective to his forays into the Western mind....

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Israel J. Katz

(b Łódź, April 16, 1893; d New York, Sept 6, 1981). American musicologist of Polish birth . After studying the piano with Jacob Weinberg in Moscow, he attended the Imperial School of Commerce (graduating in 1912) and the Moscow Conservatory (MA 1917), where he studied the piano with Alexander Goedicke, organ with Leonid Sabaneyev and theory with M. Morozov. While directing the conservatory's organ department (1918–20), he served as organist for the Bol′shoy and occasionally performed at the Moscow Art Theatre; he then worked as a lecturer for the Siberian Board of Education (1920–21) and music director of the Shanghai Songsters’ Choral Society (1921–2). He emigrated to the USA in 1923 and, following a concert tour, he settled in New York, working as organist at the Free Synagogue (1927–8), Temple Emanu-El (1928–9) and as organist and choirmaster at Temple Rodeph Sholem (...

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(b London, March 15, 1895; d Jerusalem, March 21, 1959). Israeli cellist of English birth . She studied at the RCM from 1911 and privately with Casals. After further studies with Hekking in Paris in 1915, she made her début later that year in London, and in 1916 formed a trio with Myra Hess and Jelly d'Arányi. Visiting Palestine in 1920 to recuperate from illness, she decided to settle in Jerusalem and married Eliezer Yellin in 1921. That year she established the Jerusalem Musical Society, and in 1922 formed the Jerusalem String Quartet with her sister Margery, a violinist; it was reorganized in 1933 with Emil Hauser as leader. In 1933 she formed the Jerusalem Trio with her sister and Franz Osborn; she helped Huberman to form the Palestine Orchestra (later the Israel PO), taking part in its inaugural concert under Toscanini in 1936. She appeared as a soloist with the orchestra, played in trios with Schnabel and Huberman, and taught at the Palestine Conservatory. In ...