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Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Budapest, March 5, 1932). Israeli composer, pianist and ethnomusicologist. As a young boy, he survived the Nazi invasion and miraculously escaped deportation. In 1949 he entered the composition department of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where he studied the piano with György Kósa and Erno Szégedi, composition with Endre Szervánszky and Ferenc Szabó, and ethnomusicology with Zoltán Kodály. As a Kodály disciple, he spent two years among the Hungarian gypsies, collecting songs and stories. This resulted in his Gypsy Cantata on poems of Miklos Randoti, which won first prize at the Warsaw International Youth Festival (1955).

Following the failure of the Hungarian uprising, Hajdu escaped to France, where he studied with Milhaud and Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire. At the same time he wrote music for films and conducted youth choirs. From 1959 to 1961 he taught the piano and composition at the Tunis Conservatory and was active in ethnomusicological research there. This period is represented in his ...

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

[Heinrich]

(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad, Russia], March 2, 1909; d Tel-Aviv, Dec 13, 1990). Israeli composer, conductor and string player . He studied the viola and composition with Hindemith at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1927–30). From 1930 to 1933 he played in the Grosses Orchester des Südwestdeutschen Rundfunks. With the rise of the Nazis, he left Germany and, after a year's sojourn in Istanbul, emigrated to Palestine. In 1934 he settled in Jerusalem where he joined the Palestine Music Conservatory (1934–47) and the Jerusalem String Quartet (1934–9), both of which were founded two years earlier by the violinist Emil Hauser of the Budapest String Quartet. He was appointed to the Jerusalem New Conservatory and Academy of Music in 1947 (assistant director, 1949–54; director, 1954–8). He later moved to Tel-Aviv, where he played the viola in the Israel PO until 1974. During 1974–5...

Article

Uri Toeplitz

(b Odessa, Nov 17, 1903; d Tel-Aviv, Oct 14, 1972). Israeli composer and violinist. The son of the Jewish actress Esther Rachel Kaminska, he grew up in Warsaw. After working as a violinist he studied composition in Berlin with Friedrich Koch (1922) and in Vienna with Gál. On his return to Warsaw he was made leader of the Polish RO and he founded the Warsaw String Quartet, which won the Marshal Pilsudski Competition in 1934. In 1937 Kaminski was invited by Bronislav Huberman to become one of the leaders of the Palestine Orchestra (later the Israel PO), then in its second year. He settled in Tel-Aviv and stayed with the orchestra until his retirement in 1969. His creative work was influenced by a range of sources from Gregorian chant to the music of Richard Strauss, and including the oriental elements of Israeli folk music.

The best of Kaminski’s work is found in the progressive Triptych for piano and two concertante pieces: the witty Trumpet Concertino and the Violin Concerto, a more powerful and dramatic work although its last movement is lighter, with a Jewish theme and Sephardi dance rhythms. Kaminski played the solo part at the work’s première in ...

Article

William Y. Elias

[Ödön]

(b Budapest, Oct 1, 1907; d Tel-Aviv, July 6, 1977). Israeli composer, string player and teacher of Hungarian origin. Born to an assimilated Jewish upper middle class family, he was a child prodigy and studied the violin with Ormandy. Hubay heard him play the violin at the age of eight and took him as a pupil at the Budapest Academy of Music, where he also studied composition with Kodály. After graduating from the academy in 1924, he was leader of the Lucerne Stadtsorchester (1924–6) and the Budapest Konzertorchester (1926–7). In 1927 he moved to Germany, working as a soloist, and in 1933 he became first violinist of the Jewish Cultural Centre. At the end of that year he returned to Hungary, moving then to Baku to teach the violin and composition at the conservatory (1935) and returning to Budapest as leader of the Konzertorchester (...

Article

William Y. Elias

(b Prague, Sept 24, 1910; d Haifa, Dec 20, 1968). Israeli harpsichordist, pianist, composer and educationist of Czech birth . He made his public début as a pianist at the age of 12. He studied first at the Prague Academy of Music and later at Prague University (1929–31). In 1936, at the invitation of Bronisław Huberman, he settled in Israel. After gaining a distinction in the 1939 Geneva International Competition he became sought after as a performer; following an engagement at the 1947 Prague Festival he made lengthy annual tours abroad, appearing under, among other conductors, Klemperer, Paray, Dorati, Celibidache, Solti, Fricsay and Bertini. In 1939 Pelleg was among the founders of the Institute for Jewish Music Research, and in 1949 he became director of the music department of the Ministry of Education and Culture in the new state of Israel. In 1951 he moved to Haifa, where he was among the founders of the Haifa SO and its music director until his death; he was also music director of the Municipal Theatre from its establishment in ...

Article

Motti Regev

(b Kiriat Haim, Dec 25, 1950). Israeli singer, composer, guitarist and bouzouki player. During the 1970s he played in various rock bands which performed mainly at weddings. One of these bands became known as Benzeen in the early 1980s, when Poliker established what was to become a fruitful and long-lasting creative partnership with the lyricist and critic Yaakov Gilad. Benzeen became highly successful with its hard rock sound, but disbanded in 1984 after the release of its second album. In 1985 Poliker made two albums of rock-oriented interpretations of Greek songs, with Hebrew lyrics by Gilad; these recordings widened Poliker’s popularity beyond the young audiences of rock and marked his shift towards a sound based on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern elements. In 1988 he recorded Ashes and Dust, in which he and Gilad explored their experiences of growing up in Israel in the 1960s as sons of survivors of the Holocaust, and this album is widely considered Poliker’s masterpiece. His later albums, two of which are purely instrumental, include virtuoso performances on guitar and ...

Article

William Y. Elias

revised by Irina Boga

(b Iaşi, April 17, 1929; d Jerusalem, 9 May, 2009). Romanian-born Israeli conductor, composer, and violinist. He studied the violin (with Garabet Avakian) and conducting (with Constantin Silvestri) at the Bucharest Academy of Music (1945–7). In 1957 Rodan pursued advanced studies in conducting and chamber music at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. He made his début with the Romanian RSO in 1953. In 1961 he moved to Israel and conducted the Israel PO, becoming chief conductor and music adviser to the Israel Broadcasting SO (1963–72). As a conductor he preferred post-Romantic and less extreme contemporary music. In 1965 he founded the Jerusalem Chamber Orchestra and, as its permanent conductor until 1969, toured with it to Europe, East Asia, Australia, South Africa, and the USA. Rodan appeared as a guest with various European orchestras and frequently conducted at the Israel and Arthur Rubinstein festivals, with such soloists as Rubinstein himself, Barenboim, Rampal, Perlman, and du Pré. In ...

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

[Kar’el]

(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer, conductor, singer and keyboard player of German birth. He studied the organ with Philipp Wofrum and composition with Richard Strauss. From 1920 to 1926 he held the position of conductor at the Hamburg Neues Stadt-Theater, and from 1931 to 1932 was baritone and stage director at the Deutsche Musikbühne. He emigrated to Palestine in 1933, where he was appointed programme director of the newly founded Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS, later Kol Israel [‘The Voice of Israel’]), a position he held until his retirement in 1962; he founded the PBS Orchestra (later the Kol Israel Orchestra) in 1938.

Many of Salomon’s early works were destroyed. His music from 1933 is tonal with modal inflections, combining European traditions with folk influences to create a light, accessible style. The Sepharadic Suite (1961) incorporates Spanish melodies; popular material is also used in the Second Symphony ‘Leilot be’Cna’an (‘Nights of Canaan’, ...

Article

Anthony Philip Pattin

(b Detroit, Jan 24, 1947). American composer and pianist, active in Israel. He studied at Converse College (Spartanburg, South Carolina), Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Arizona (DMA 1970). His principal teachers include Ozan Marsh and Rudolf Serkin (piano), and Robert Muczynski (composition). Although he has composed for virtually all media, he has shown a special affinity for solo piano works and chamber music with piano. His brilliant piano writing often requires enormous technical facility on the part of the performer; textures are invariably contrapuntal, regardless of tempo, and rhythms are vital and varied with frequent changes of metre. His works often evoke a frenzied state through climaxes, rapid harmonic motion and breakneck speed. He has remarked that his ‘is not the kind of music to relax to, but the kind that makes people sweat; not only performer, but audience'. His interest in folk music stems largely from his desire to explore his own Jewish roots....

Article

Ronit Seter

(b Montevideo, Jan 1, 1959). Israeli composer and guitarist of Uruguayan birth. After emigrating to Israel in 1974, he studied the classical guitar with Menashe Baquiche and composition with Jan Radzynski. He obtained the BMus (1984) and MM (1986) at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv University, where his teachers included Leon Schidlowsky and Seter. He began to teach at the Rubin Academy in 1995. One of the foremost guitarists in Israel, his honours include two ACUM prizes (1992) and the Prime Minister Prize for composers (1994). As a composer, Seroussi has drawn inspiration from a variety of sources, including Luis Buñuel's films, Henri Matisse's paintings and the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Antonio Machado. His style, influenced by European avant-garde pitch content and Latin American orchestration, tends towards new complexity. His orchestral composition Lux: in memoriam Mordecai Seter (...

Article

Natan Shahar

(b Kherson, 13/Jan 26, 1901; d Afiquim, June 22, 1979). Israeli composer and violinist of Russian birth . He emigrated to Palestine with his family at the age of five. After studying at the Shulamit Conservatory in Tel-Aviv with Hopenko and Karchevski, he joined the ‘Ein Ḥarod Kibbutz, where he formed the Valley Quartet. In 1926 he moved to the Yagur Kibbutz. During 1929–30 he studied choral singing with F. Jöde in Germany. Upon his return to the kibbutz, he wrote many songs on texts by Rachel Blovshtain (1890–1931) and Chaim Nachman Bialik, as well as on versicles from the Bible and prayer books. In addition to songs marking the Israeli agricultural tradition, he wrote sermons for Jewish festivals, the most famous of which is a version of the Passover legend. Sharet's best-known works are the eight Anot collections (1937–9) which predominantly contain new Israeli songs. The final part of the collection includes 80 European choral songs, many of which were reset to Hebrew texts....

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

(b Kremenchug, Jan 22, 1905; d Tel-Aviv, Feb 20, 1990). Israeli composer and pianist of Ukrainian birth. While a student at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, she studied the piano with Egon Petri and Artur Schnabel. She first travelled to Palestine in 1929, but decided to settle in Paris where she made contact with Arthur Honegger and Darius Milhaud, and studied composition with Nadia Boulanger, Edgard Varèse and Max Deutsch (1930–32). Her First Symphony (1935), originally scored for piano, was orchestrated in 1937 while she was participating in a course given by Enescu. After the German invasion of France, Shlonsky escaped to London, where she wrote her Piano Concerto in Two Movements (1942–4). She emigrated to Palestine in 1945. Considered an avant-garde composer, she found it difficult initially to have her works performed. As well as teaching the piano at Tel-Aviv University, she served as a music critic for several Israeli newspapers....

Article

William Y. Elias

(b Prague, Aug 6, 1908; d Tel-Aviv, Sept 30, 1980). Israeli conductor, composer and pianist of Czech birth. At the Prague Music Academy (1924–6) he studied the piano with Franz Langer and Ervin Schulhoff, and composition with Zemlinsky, winning a piano competition there in 1925. His début as an opera conductor was in 1926 at the Neues Deutsches Theater, Prague, with Kienzl’s Der Evangelimann. He conducted there until 1930, when he went to Hamburg to conduct the Staatsoper. In 1934 he returned to Prague, where he gave the first radio performance of the concert version of Dvořák’s first opera, Alfred. In 1939 he settled in Palestine and in December that year he first conducted the Palestine SO; he later became permanent guest conductor of this orchestra, and also of the Israel Broadcasting SO, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Haifa SO. He was among the founders in ...

Article

Robyn Holmes, Peter Campbell, and Judith Crispin

[Lazarus]

Robyn Holmes and Peter Campbell, revised by Judith Crispin

(b Tianjin, China, Sept 10, 1934). Australian composer, pianist, and musicologist. Born to Russian-Chinese parents, he emigrated to Australia with his family in 1951. He studied the piano at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, where his teachers included Winifred Burston (1952–8), and in San Francisco with Egon Petri (1959–61). On his return to Australia, he taught at the Queensland Conservatorium (1961–5) and lectured on contemporary composition at the University of Queensland. In 1965 he assumed the position of Head of Keyboard at the newly founded Canberra School of Music (now part of the Australian National University), where he became Head of Composition and Head of Academic Studies in 1978, and Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Visiting Fellow in 2005.

Sitsky first came to prominence as a composer at the inaugural Australian Composers’ Seminar (Hobart, Tasmania, ...

Article

Jehoash Hirshberg

[Yehoyachin]

(b Romny, Ukraine, Feb 7, 1891; d Tel-Aviv, 1981). Israeli cellist, composer and scholar. His father was a klezmer musician. Stutschewsky studied the cello at the Leipzig Conservatory (1909–12). After returning to Russia, he was soon smuggled to the border to avoid forced conscription. A difficult period as an impoverished cellist in Paris and Jena followed. In 1914 he moved to Zürich where he met Joel Engel and became active performing Jewish music. He settled in 1924 in Vienna, where he became for a time the cellist in the celebrated Kolisch Quartet, which gave first performances of works by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. He published articles in Jewish periodicals, mostly Die Stimme, corresponded with colleagues in Jerusalem and was involved with the founding of the World Centre for Jewish Music in 1937. A dedicated pedagogue, he also wrote a treatise on cello playing.

In 1938, immediately after the Nazi Anschluss, Stutschewsky and his wife Julia, a soprano, emigrated to Palestine. He was appointed inspector for Jewish music by the general council that ran the Jewish autonomy under British mandate. Despite the dismal economic situation, he organized concerts of Jewish folk and art music in Tel-Aviv, which he funded himself. He also presented lecture-recitals throughout the country, using his travels to collect and transcribe Hassidic tunes. He founded a string quartet with Kaminsky, leader of the Palestine Orchestra, and performed piano trios with Taube....