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Article

Joyce Shintani

(b Bratislava, May 29, 1937). Austrian composer of Slovak birth. Of Jewish descent, he was interned as a child in Terezín in 1944. After studying composition and conducting in Bratislava at the Conservatory (1951–6) and the Academy of Music and Drama, he worked at Czechoslovak Radio, first as programme editor then as director of the electronic music studio (from 1965). His outspoken criticism of the communist regime led to his expulsion from the Association of Slovak Composers after the Prague Spring (1968), leading to an embargo on the performance of his works. In 1977 he emigrated to Austria, taking citizenship there and becoming an editor at Universal Edition in 1979.

The departure point for Kolman's composition is his study of Berg, Webern and Schoenberg, clearly recognizable in his Vier Orchesterstücke (1963, revised 1996). However, also evident are clusters, sound masses and subtle use of polyrhythm, elements reminiscent of Ligeti and present also in the piano toccata, ...

Article

Sven Erik Werner

(b Copenhagen, Oct 1, 1908, d Copenhagen, July 14, 1998). Danish composer of Polish parentage. The Koppels are among the foremost musical families in Denmark: Herman's younger brother Julius led the orchestra of the Royal Chapel from 1939 to 1979; Herman's daughter Therese, a pianist, became his successor at the Royal Danish Conservatory, Copenhagen; his second daughter Lone (b 1938) became a leading soprano with the Royal Danish Opera and the Australian Opera, and his two sons Thomas, leader of the highly successful rock group Savage Rose, and Anders are composers.

Herman Koppel's earliest musical experiences came from the synagogue, and also from the music of Nordic fiddlers. He had begun to study the piano and compose by the age of seven. In 1926 he entered the Royal Danish Conservatory, where he was taught by Simonsen (piano) and Bangert (theory); as a student he also attracted the attention of Carl Nielsen. His début concert in ...

Article

Jehoash Hirshberg

(b USSR, 1929). Israeli composer . While practising medicine, he studied composition at the L'viv Academy with Simovitch and at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, Moscow, with Bogatïryov. After completing his second doctoral degree in 1958, he taught at music academies in Moscow, Alma-Ata and Kishinau. Several of his compositions, such as Casa mare (1966), won prizes in the USSR. After emigrating to Israel in 1972, he was appointed professor of composition at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem, where he later served as dean and deputy head (1974–94). He has also taught at the Hebrew University and the University of Pennsylvania (1982–3, 1988–9), and served as composer-in-residence at the Canberra School of Music (1985). He established the Doron Ensemble for 20th-century music in 1991, and became composer-in-residence of the Jerusalem Camerata in 1992. With the political changes in Eastern Europe, Kopytman renewed his activities in the cultural world he had left 20 years earlier. He served as music adviser to the International Festival in St Petersburg (...

Article

David Blazey

(Gordon)

(b Johannesburg, Dec 2, 1957). South African composer . He studied at the University of Cape Town, where his teachers included Klatzow and James May (BMus 1978, MMus 1986), at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart, with Lachenmann (Künstlerische Abschlussprüfung, 1989) and at Keele University with George Nicholson. His music is primarily linear in conception. By superimposing independent musical strata, he creates irregular rhythmic patterns that are either augmented to become the form of the composition, or diminished to be perceived as individual rhythmic units. Specific pitches are identified with each impulse of the resulting rhythms and a harmony or harmonic field is associated with each pitch. The influence of his South African-Jewish roots and their cultural associations within Germany, the country he has adopted as his home, are reflected in the titles of his compositions. Many works are scored for unusual instruments and ensembles....

Article

Philip L. Miller

(b Kowal, Aug 10, 1882; d London, June 4, 1956). German composer of Polish birth. In 1883 he was taken to Germany. He took a doctorate in law at the University of Marburg and studied singing with Alexander Heinemann in Berlin and composition with Sekles in Frankfurt. Among his first publications was a set of songs on poems from the Giraud–Hartleben Pierrot lunaire which appeared at about the same time as Schoenberg's settings. Kowalski's songs, unlike Schoenberg's, fall within the tradition of the Romantic lied, to which he was one of the last successful contributors. In 1939, after his release from the Buchenwald concentration camp, he fled to England, where he found work as a piano tuner and synagogue singer. Later he taught singing in London and continued to compose until his death.

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Article

Alfred Zimmerlin

(b Bratislava, April 24, 1924; d Zurich, December 5, 2003). Israeli-Swiss composer of Slovak origin. After emigrating to Palestine in 1941, Lakner, who was Jewish, settled in Tel-Aviv, where he studied the piano with Frank Pelleg and composition with Alexander Uriyah Boskovich and Oedoen Partos. In 1952, under the auspices of the International Arts Program of the Institute of International Education, he travelled to the USA, where he studied with Copland at Tanglewood. He pursued further study with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gottfried Michael Koening and Mauricio Kagel at the WDR Studio for Electronic Music, Cologne, and with Bernd Alois Zimmermann at the Cologne Musikhochschule. From 1948 to 1963 he taught at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv. He moved to Switzerland in 1963 to teach and compose. Concentrating on incidental music, he wrote scores for all of Maria von Ostfelden’s productions (1965–71) and for the première of Brecht’s ...

Article

Stanley Sadie

revised by Susan Wollenberg

(b ? c1740; d Oxford, Nov 21, 1777). English composer and violinist. He was a son of David Francisco Lates, a Hebrew scholar who taught modern languages at Oxford University. According to Sainsbury, he studied in Italy and is described by Lewis as ‘the first Oxford Jewish composer’. The local newspaper reported his marriage on 29 October 1768 to Miss Joanna Day, ‘a Lady of exceeding good Accomplishments, with a very handsome Fortune’. He played in the Holywell Music Room orchestra, probably as principal second violin, and in other concerts in the vicinity of Oxford (including Henley and Banbury) from the late 1750s until his death, and was connected with the Duke of Marlborough’s musical establishment at Blenheim. An early appearance in 1757 at a benefit concert and ball for Miss Lates (probably a sister) in Abingdon featured ‘Master Lates’ playing first violin and a solo; by 1761...

Article

Miri Gerstel

(b Riga, Dec 22, 1903; d Haifa, March 24, 1967). Israeli composer and conductor of Latvian birth. He studied in Riga, at the Leipzig Conservatory, and privately with Scherchen and Glazunov. After working as an opera conductor in Saarbrücken (1926–8), he became the musical director and conductor of Rudolf von Laban's dance theatre in Berlin. He went on to conduct the Berliner SO (1929–32) and the Riga Opera (1932–4). In 1935, with the ascent of Nazism, he emigrated to Palestine. Between 1941 and 1947 he conducted the Palestine Folk Opera and Palestine Orchestra, and from 1950 to 1958 he was director of Kol Zion LaGola, an Israeli Radio Broadcast for the Diaspora. He settled in Haifa as an honorary citizen in 1962. As well as writing oratorios, chamber works and orchestral music, he composed many popular songs and incidental scores for theatre productions....

Article

Oded Assaf

(b Jerusalem, Dec 21, 1953). Israeli composer. He studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem with Kopytman, and at the University of Pennsylvania, where his teachers included Wernick, Crumb and Rochberg. A senior lecturer at the Rubin Academy of Music, he is one of Israel's prominent young composers. Early pieces such as Gilgulim (1976–8) and Scherzos and Serenades (1989) reflect a modern, internationally-oriented posture characterized by post-serial materials and techniques, and a strong sense of colour. Later works, such as the Symphony no.2 ‘Visions of Stonecity’ (1995) and the Viola Concerto (1998), blend serial techniques with modal, Jewish and Middle Eastern elements and textural echoes of Bartók and Messiaen. This style can be traced back to earlier vocal pieces such as The Invisible Carmel (1982). His works have been performed in Israel, East Asia and throughout Europe and the USA; the First Symphony and the Violin Concerto have been recorded....

Article

Jerzy Morawski

(b Kalisz, March 14, 1831; d Warsaw, Nov 22, 1896). Polish violinist, composer and bandmaster. Born into a Jewish intellectual family, he started learning to play the violin at an early age and gave public performances as a child. After leaving secondary school in Kalisz, he studied the violin under K. Baranowski and Jan Hornziel in Warsaw. From 1850 he played in the orchestra of the Wielki Theatre in Warsaw. Then, with the cooperation of A. Kühn, he organized his own orchestra and gave concerts at Nowa Arkadia. He also gave performances at the Mineral Water Institute in the Saski Gardens, and from 1857 until his death he performed in the Variety Theatre, playing mainly dances, of which he composed many. He also organized popular symphony concerts at the Resursa Obywatelska (Citizens' Club) and played in chamber music concerts. For a time he was a member of the string quartet founded by K. Baranowski. Lewandowski left about 350 compositions, which were published from ...

Article

Irena Poniatowska

(b Warsaw, Dec 22, 1840; d Warsaw, July 13, 1927). Polish violinist and composer. Son of a Jewish street musician, he played the violin in Warsaw taverns. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1852–5) with J.L. Massart (violin) and Ambroise Thomas (composition), and won a premier prix in 1855. His career as a soloist began in 1852 when he performed in the Salle Herz in Paris. In 1857 he gave three concerts in Warsaw (15, 18 and 19 February), in 1860 in Warsaw, Lublin and in 1861 played in Kraków; he also appeared in many European cities, including Paris (1860, 1865), Berlin, Weimar and Leipzig. He was professor of violin at the Strasbourg Conservatory (1873–80) and the Music Institute in Warsaw (from 1880); he was also leader of the Warsaw opera orchestra. His compositions are exclusively for the violin.

Article

Ury Eppstein

(b Tel Aviv, Jan 13, 1936). Israeli composer and conductor. He studied at the New Jerusalem Academy of Music (1951–3), including conducting with Eitan Lustig, and composition privately with Ben-Haim (1956–60) and at Columbia University, New York, where he specialized in electronic music with Ussachevsky (1961–2, 1964–5). In addition he studied architecture and urban planning at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa (BA 1960), and at Columbia (1961–2), and philosophy at Tel-Aviv University (MA 1974). He was a founder and conductor of the Israel National Youth Orchestra (1953–7, 1970–4), the Tel-Aviv Municipality Youth Orchestra (1956–60) and the Technion SO (1958–60). He was also chairman of the Israel League of Composers and the ISCM Israel section (1970–4, 1981–8) and taught at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (1972–3...

Article

Peter Franklin

(b Kalischt, nr Iglau [now Kaliště, Jihlava], Bohemia, July 7, 1860; d Vienna, May 18, 1911). Austrian composer and conductor. He wrote large-scale symphonic works and songs (many with orchestra) and established a career as a powerful and innovatory conductor; while director of the Vienna Hofoper between 1897 and 1907 he provided a model of post-Wagnerian idealism for the German musical theatre. His compositions were initially regarded by some as eccentric, by others as novel expressions of the ‘New German’ modernism widely associated with Richard Strauss. Only during his last decade did they begin to enjoy the critical support and popular success that helped to ensure the posthumous survival of his reputation as a composer beyond the years of National Socialism in Germany and Austria. Mahler suffered the fate of innumerable banned composers of Jewish origin at a time when his music was still imperfectly known and understood outside the German-speaking countries of Europe. The centenary of his birth in ...

Article

Matthias Brzoska

[Jakob Liebmann Meyer ]

(b Vogelsdorf, nr Berlin, Germany, Sept 5, 1791; d Paris, France, May 2, 1864). German composer. The most frequently performed opera composer during the 19th century, linking Mozart and Wagner.

Meyerbeer was descended from distinguished families in the Jewish society of Berlin. His father, Jakob (Juda) Herz Beer (1769–1825), was an industrialist and contractor to the Prussian army, and his mother, Amalia (1767–1854), was the daughter of the banker Liebmann Meyer Wulff, whose family can be traced back to Jost Liebmann, a Jew at the court of the Great Elector. Amalia Beer received the finest minds of Prussia in her salon, including the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the poet A.W. Iffland, and Alexander von Humboldt, with whom Meyerbeer maintained a close lifelong friendship. At an early age he took piano lessons from Franz Lauska, and by the time he was 11 he was a successful prodigy, although he encountered hostile anti-Semitism in his childhood....

Article

(Yudkovich)

(b Rakitno, Kiev province, 17/Dec 29, 1886; d Leningrad, Oct 25, 1953). Russian composer. He came from a poor Jewish background and was orphaned at the age of 12. From his childhood he sang in synagogue choirs. In 1915 he graduated from the Petrograd Conservatory where he studied composition with Lyadov, Steinberg and Nikolay Tcherepnin. From 1911 he took an active part in the Society for Jewish Folk Music in St Petersburg, directing the choir. After the Revolution he was involved in music and teaching; he was later chorusmaster of Prolekul′t (1921–4) and of the opera theatre of the People's House in Petrograd. He headed the music section of the State Jewish Theatre in Moscow (1924–5) and in Kharkiv (1929–31); he later directed the Jewish folk ensemble Evokans in Leningrad (1931–41). In the war years he remained in Leningrad during the blockade and was engaged in creative work....

Article

Jerome Roche

revised by Henry Roche

(Isaac)

(b Prague, May 23, 1794; d Leipzig, March 10, 1870). Bohemian pianist and composer. He was of Jewish descent: the extra Hebrew forename Isaac, occasionally added in modern publications, was of purely religious significance and was never used by him professionally. His date of birth is given incorrectly as 30 May in many earlier works of reference. His piano lessons began early, and from 1804 to 1808 he was taught by B.D. Weber, director of the Prague Conservatory, who insisted on an exclusive study of Bach, Mozart and Clementi. But already Moscheles had discovered the ‘Pathétique’ Sonata, and was keen to explore every new Beethoven piano work. In 1808 he moved to Vienna, where he could come closer personally and musically to Beethoven, while studying counterpoint with Albrechtsberger and composition with Salieri. By 1814, when the publisher Artaria commissioned him to prepare a piano reduction of Beethoven’s Fidelio...

Article

Martin Eastick

(b Breslau [now Wrocław], Aug 23, 1854; d Paris, March 4, 1925). German pianist, composer and conductor of Polish descent. Born into a wealthy Jewish family, he received his first musical tuition at home, showing exceptional talent from an early age. In 1865 the family moved to Dresden, where Moszkowski was accepted at the conservatory. Moving to Berlin in 1869, he studied at the Stern Conservatory with Eduard Frank (piano) and Friedrich Kiel (composition), and subsequently at Theodore Kullak's Neue Akademie der Tonkunst with Kullak himself (piano) and Richard Wuerst (composition). While still only 17 he accepted Kullak's invitation to join the staff at his academy, where he taught for over 25 years. In 1873 he made his successful début in Berlin as a pianist, and quickly acquired a reputation not only as a brilliant virtuoso but also as a fine interpreter of the Classical and Romantic repertory. He was also a competent violinist, sometimes playing first violin in the academy orchestra. Among his early compositions were several substantial orchestral works, most of which have been lost. These included a piano concerto, first performed in Berlin in ...

Article

Elizabeth Wood

(b Canterbury, 1790; d Sydney, Jan 15, 1864). Australian composer of Polish descent and English birth. Educated at Cambridge by Solomon Lyon from 1805, he was apprenticed by his father to Domenico Corri in London (1809) for training in singing and composition. His introduction to Lord Byron in 1814 led to their collaboration in the Hebrew Melodies (1815–19), for which Nathan adapted ancient Jewish chants to Byron’s poems; the songs were first sung in London by John Braham and were an instant success, remaining in print until 1861. They were at once the basis and highlight of Nathan’s English career, which was fostered by his association with Lady Caroline Lamb, his pupil the Princess Charlotte and the court circles of George IV, to whom he was music librarian and perhaps secret agent. He supported himself with writing, teaching and running a music warehouse and publishing business; he also made an undistinguished stage appearance as Bertram in Henry Bishop’s ...

Article

Uri Toeplitz

revised by Ronit Seter

[Nadler, Serge]

(b Bucharest, April 12, 1924). Israeli composer of Romanian birth. He studied at the Bucharest Academy of Music with Leo Keppler. In 1945 he won the George Enescu Prize for his March and Chorale (which was performed by the Palestine PO in 1947, 14 years prior to his immigration to Israel); he won the Romanian State Prize in 1951. In 1961 he settled in Tel-Aviv, where his music was soon recognized and performed at the Israel Festival by the Israel PO and Israel Chamber Ensemble. From 1975 to 1985 he taught at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University. His Israeli honours include the Milo (1965), Engel (1970) and Prime Minister (1984) prizes for composers.

Natra’s early works show the influence of Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Hindemith, composers whose music had been banned in Bucharest and played only by an orchestra of Jewish musicians who had been dismissed from other orchestras in the city. The same Jewish orchestra performed Natra's first works of ...

Article

Ronit Seter

(b Tel-Aviv, May 16, 1954). Israeli composer, active in Italy. She studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv University (BMus 1978) with Sadai and Leon Schidlowsky, and at Yale University (MA 1981), where her teachers included Druckman, Amy and others. In 1982 a Leonard Bernstein Scholarship enabled her to work at Tanglewood with Berio, whom she continued to study with in Italy (1983–6). While most of her music relates to Jewish musical traditions, her compositional style shows the influence of early Penderecki, as well as Berio. Throughout her career she has drawn upon traditional Jewish folksongs, and Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewish folklore; in the mid-1990s she turned to Ashkenazi klezmer music as another source of inspiration. Folk material appears in her music in rich, nuanced arrangements, or is transformed through avant-garde techniques into contexts featuring dense heterophony and tone clusters. The pitch content, orchestration and rhythmic complexity of her works contribute to a coherent, non-eclectic style that nonetheless combines such diverse elements as Judeo-Spanish music, Arab tunes, klezmer melodies and European avant-garde techniques. Her compositions have been performed by leading orchestras, including the Chicago SO, the New York PO, the BBC SO, the London Sinfonietta and the Israel PO, and at major European festivals....