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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 ...


Max Loppert

revised by Jessica Duchen

(Sigismond )

(b Sofia, July 26, 1929). French pianist of Bulgarian birth . At the age of three he began musical studies under Pancho Vladiguerov. In 1945 he went as a refugee to Israel, where he gave his first performance with an orchestra. He entered the Juilliard School of Music in 1946 as a pupil of Olga Samaroff; the following year, having won the Leventritt International Competition, he made his New York début under Szell, and an international career commenced, which he interrupted in 1956 with a ten-year period of retirement, for study and teaching. In November 1966 he played again in Paris, and since then has fashioned a wide-ranging second career. His Royal Festival Hall début was in June 1974, and the same year he recorded the complete Beethoven piano concertos with von Karajan. He is an occasional member of international piano competition juries. A pianist of virtuoso technique, with wide repertory but a particular interest in the Romantic period (especially the music of Chopin and Schumann), he can give in live performance the impression of a forceful flamboyance of style in which sensitivity is sometimes swept aside....


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 ...


(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 ...


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 (...


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 ...