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Ronit Seter

[Berman, Bernhardt]

(b Wiesbaden, July 20, 1923). Israeli critic, composer and musicologist. He moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1936. After studying composition with Paul Ben-Haim, his most influential teacher, Bar-Am attended the Ecole Normale de Paris (1949–51). He studied musicology at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1977), where he became the principal lecturer for courses on Jewish music and Israeli contemporary music (1973–96) and the first director of the Archive of Israeli Music. The secretary general of the Israeli League of Composers (1960–76, 1976–8), he became chair of the organizing committee of the ISCM in Israel in 1980. Though most influential as the music critic of the Jerusalem Post between 1958 and 1995, Bar-Am also wrote many essays on Israeli music in Hebrew, English and German, notably ‘A Musical Gateway between East and West’ (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 1988). He ceased composing in the early 1970s but resumed in ...

Article

(b Kolozsvár [now Cluj-Napoca], Aug 16, 1907; d Tel-Aviv, Nov 5, 1964). Israeli composer and music critic of Hungarian origin. He grew up in a highly religious family – some of his forebears were Hassidic rabbis – which originated from the Moravian town Boskovice. Educated at the Jewish lyceum Tarbut in Cluj during the period in which it briefly flourished before forced Romanization and repression of the Jews in Transylvania, he studied the piano with Hevesi Piroska and then in Vienna with Victor Ebenstein. In 1927 he took advanced studies in Paris with Lazar Levi (piano), Dukas (composition) and Boulanger, which shaped his predilection for French music, in particular Debussy and Milhaud. Back in Cluj, he became, in 1930, one of the conductors of the State Opera and founded a fine Jewish amateur orchestra named after Karl Goldmark. In 1937 he contributed to a volume on Jewish topics with a study of contemporary Jewish music, the revival of which he related to the Russian influence on music after Wagner. He followed Sabaneyev’s example in regarding the collection and publication of Jewish folksong as a prerequisite for the emergence of such a music, stressing the linear, non-harmonic nature of Jewish musical expression. Concurrent with the essay, he composed ...

Article

[Denis Browne, William Charles]

(b Leamington Spa, Nov 3, 1888; d Achi Baba, Turkey, June 4, 1915). English composer and critic. He was educated at Rugby and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he became a close friend of Dent; he graduated in classics and took a MusB in 1912. After a short spell of teaching at Repton he moved to London as a critic and teacher; his articles for The Times (1913–14) and the New Statesman (1914) reveal a brilliant musical mind. His posthumously published songs are particularly beautiful and the ballet suggests a rare ability to absorb new idioms. He was killed in action shortly after burying his friend Rupert Brooke.

Article

Susan Au

(b Tianjin, China, Feb 4, 1903; d Searsmont, ME, July 12, 1983). American poet, dance critic, and librettist. Following his education at Harvard and the University of Vienna, he studied dance in Vienna at the Hellerau-Laxenburg school, a center of Ausdrucktanz, or expressive dance. He performed and choreographed in Germany, but returned to the United States in 1935 when the Nazis came to power. In New York City he renewed his acquaintance with composers Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, whom he had met in Europe. Through their good offices, he was appointed dance critic of the periodical Modern Music in 1936. His association with Copland also included the writing of three opera libretti, though only one, The Second Hurricane (1937), was actually produced on stage. From 1943–5 he temporarily replaced Walter Terry, who was doing military service, as dance critic of the New York Herald Tribune....

Article

Anthony Parr

(b London, Jan 1, 1879; d Coventry, June 7, 1970). English writer. Closely associated with Cambridge and the Bloomsbury group, he campaigned actively against censorship. His travels in Europe and India yielded two of his best-known novels, A Room with a View (1908) and A Passage to India...

Article

Hsun Lin

(b Los Angeles, CA, Aug 11, 1957). American playwright. Hwang is known as the pre-eminent Asian American playwright in the United States. His plays often combine humor, pathos, and a sense of awe at ancient rituals. His early works focus on Chinese American experiences. His first success, the Obie Award-winning FOB (1980), depicts the conflicts between an American-born young man of Chinese descent and newly arrived Chinese immigrants. One of his best known works is M. Butterfly (1988), a play for which he won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is loosely based on a news report of a relationship between a French diplomat and a male Chinese opera singer. Hwang co-wrote the books for the musicals Aida (2000) and Tarzan (2006), rewrote the book for a revival of Flower Drum Song (2002), and provided the librettos for Philip Glass’s works ...

Article

Jehoash Hirshberg

(b Russia, 1899; d Tel Aviv, 1968). Israeli critic, choral conductor and composer of Russian birth. In 1925, soon after his emigration to Palestine, he was appointed music critic of the newly founded socialist daily Davar, a position he retained throughout his life. He changed his surname from Rabinowitz to the more Hebrew Ravina in 1930. His frequent and detailed reviews, which insisted on a high standard of performance and programming, and sought a genuine Jewish musical style, were highly influential. In an attempt to bring music to the people, he collaborated with David Shor on an ambitious education project that included public lectures, the publication of popular music appreciation booklets and song anthologies, and the establishment of a nation-wide network of amateur choirs. He was also a strong supporter of contemporary music in Palestine. His many songs (around 60), mostly written for young children, were intended as part of a newly composed folksong repertory....