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Oded Assaf

(b Hungary, Aug 16, 1947). Israeli composer of Hungarian birth. He studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv (graduated 1968) with Seter, Boskovitch, Partos and others, and at the Guildhall School of Music, London (1978–9). A lecturer at the Rubin Academy, he has also directed the Israel Contemporary Players. His style can be described as atonal, saturated with sharp chromaticism and using serial and post-serial techniques that echo the European avant garde. In early orchestral works, such as Prelude (1978), textural and formal elements show an affinity with Penderecki's ‘cluster’ pieces; later, he adopted a more motivic and transparent style sometimes alluding to Central European early Expressionism. Works such as Four Poems of David Vogel (1986) and the String Quartet (1989) balance chromatic writing with the suggestion of tonal centres and strict forms. His music has been performed by leading orchestras and ensembles in Israel and Europe. ...

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Galina Grigor′yeva

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J. Richard Haefer

Marimba of Central America. Popular in both mestizo and indigenous cultures since the 19th century, it is found from southern Mexico south through Nicaragua and is a predecessor of the modern Mexican-Guatemalan marimba. It is distinguished from the modern marimba by its small size (rarely more than three octaves) and the use of gourds as resonators for the bars (...

Article

Ronit Seter

(b Jerusalem, Feb 2, 1961). Israeli composer. He studied with André Hajdu and Jan Radzynski, then at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem (BM 1986), with Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania (MA 1990), and at SUNY, Stony Brook (PhD 1995). After returning to Israel in 1992, he became composer-in-residence of the Haifa SO (1993–7) and the Israel Chamber Orchestra (1998–9). He was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Composers in 1995. Coordinator of music studies at Haifa University, he teaches at several other music institutions. His works have been performed by the Kirov Opera Orchestra and the LSO. Striving to be communicative, Zehavi integrates various stylistic approaches, ranging from neo-Romantic to dense, almost atonal writing. In his vocal works, such as Erga (1995), Zehavi reflects the influences of Argov and Wilensky, two important Israeli song writers. His concertos for viola (...

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Natan Shahar

(b Kiev, July 6, 1905; d Tel-Aviv, Aug 1, 1968). Israeli composer of Ukrainian birth . In 1924 he emigrated to Palestine, where he helped to found the Kibbutz Afiqim. The following year he joined the Ohel Workers' Theatre; there he met Yoel Angle who directed the theatre's chorus and wrote incidental music. After Angle's death in 1927, Shlomo Rozovsky, his successor, agreed to give Zeira music lessons. Zeira began by re-composing songs written by his friends. Songs written during this period include Ashreiha-ish (‘Joyful is the man’) and Paqad adonai (‘God Commanded’). The latter of these, originally performed in Yemeni style, became a hit. From the 1930s onwards, Zeira composed hundreds of songs that accompanied and reflected the changing life of the Israeli people in their new society. Any events in the Hityashvut (establishment of new settlements), whether cultural, political or religious, found their expression in his work. During World War II, Zeira enlisted in the British Army, continuing to write songs for various Jewish military units. Later, during the Independence War (...

Article

Michael Steinberg

(b Dubrovnik, Feb 21, 1922; d Rochester, NY, May 2, 2012). American violinist of Russian origin . After studying at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, his principal violin training was at the Juilliard School, New York, under Sascha Jacobson, Louis Persinger and Ivan Galamian. He made his début with the Palestine Orchestra in 1940, and first performed in New York in 1951, and in London (Wigmore Hall) in 1961. The same year he made débuts in Vienna, Milan, Stockholm and Amsterdam. As well as playing the standard repertory, he was specially involved with contemporary music and gave first performances of concertos written for him by Paul Ben-Haim (1962), Sverre Jordan (1965) and Carlos Surinach (1982) and other works by Jacob Druckman, Robert Starer, Ben-Zion Orgad, Samuel Adler and Verne Reynolds. He was one of the few violinists of his generation to have Schoenberg’s concerto in his repertory, and brilliantly mastered its musical and technical difficulties; he gave its first performances in South America (...

Article

Malinda Britton Schantz

(b Moline, IL, Aug 7, 1926). American composer and musicologist. She studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (BM 1948), Columbia University Teachers College (MA 1949) and the University of Chicago. Her composition instructors included Karl Ahrendt and Alexander Tcherepnin. After teaching in the public schools, she joined the music department at Northeastern Illinois University (1961–6) and later taught at New England College (1967–82). She has also taught composition privately at St. Paul’s School (1972–92). Her many honours include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and first prize in the Delius Composition Competition (1971) for Haiku.

Influenced primarily by the music of Bach, Bartók, Stravinsky, the synagogue and jazz, Ziffrin's style can best be described as postmodern. Expressive and vibrant, her music often includes clear melodic lines juxtaposed against complex rhythmic gestures. Dissonance and quartal harmonies dominate many pieces. Several of her works have been recorded. Her writings include the biography ...

Article

Noël Goodwin

(b Tel-Aviv, July 16, 1948). Israeli violinist of Polish descent. His father, also a violinist, encouraged a childhood instinct for music, and at eight he entered the Tel-Aviv Academy of Music, where he studied with Ilona Feher, a pupil of Hubay. In 1961 he was heard by Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals, on whose recommendations he received scholarships enabling him to enter the Juilliard School of Music, New York, with Stern as his legal guardian. There Zukerman studied with Ivan Galamian and extended his interest to the viola, the better to participate in chamber ensembles. He appeared at the 1966 Spoleto Festival in Italy, and the next year was joint winner of the Leventritt Memorial Competition. The resulting solo engagements throughout North America were supplemented by deputizing for an indisposed Stern, and since Zukerman’s New York début at Lincoln Center in 1969 he has toured frequently in Europe. His British concert début was at the ...

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Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Tel-Aviv, March 6, 1942). Israeli composer. After graduating from the College of Music Teachers in Tel-Aviv (1964), he studied theory at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance, Jerusalem (until 1967). He continued his studies in the USA at the Mannes College of Music (BM 1971), Sarah Lawrence College (MFA 1972) and Columbia University (DMA 1976). During his years in New York he taught at Queens College, CUNY and New York University. In addition to his role as professor of composition and theory at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem, he has served as chair of the Israel League of Composers (1992–4) and the Israeli delegate to the ISCM (1992–6). His numerous honours include an award from the ISCM Electronic Music Competition (1975), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1981), two ACUM awards, the Joel Engel Prize (Tel-Aviv, ...

Article

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 ...