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Twenty Israeli Composers

Voices of a Culture

Robert Fleisherforeword by Shulamit Ran

Israel and Middle East, Music

Published: February 2018
ISBN: 9780814344255
Pages: 384 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 20 b&w illus.
Published: February 2018
ISBN: 9780814344248
Pages: 384 Size: EPUB
Illustrations: 20 b&w illus.

Israel’s contemporary art music reflects a modern society that is an intricate fabric of national and ethnic origins, languages and dialects, customs and traditions—a heterogeneous culture of cultures. It is a rich and distinctive environment—at once ancient and modern, spiritual and secular, traditional and progressive.

Twenty Israeli Composers, the first published collection of interviews with Israeli composers, explores this developing and distinctive music culture. The featured composers have earned distinction in Israel and abroad, and reflect the pluralism of Israeli art music, culture, and society. In first-person narrative, they discuss the interaction of inspiration, method, and cultural context in their work, revealing both international and national influence and scope. Three generations of contemporary composers-immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, North and South America, and naïve sabras- share their ideas about music, the creative process, and their experiences as artists living and working in Israel. Robert Fleisher furnishes a biographical sketch of each composer, followed by a summary of recent accomplishments. The book also includes a bibliography, discography, and information for further study.

Robert Fleisher is professor of music theory and composition at Northern Illinois University. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Illinois.

The boiling cauldron of Israeli music, music by immigrants and by Israelis born of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, comes to life in the monologues representative of three generations of composers, born between 1909 and 1961. They tell about their past and present, their activity as performers and teachers, their interaction with colleagues, their artistic and national creeds, and their music, written in a cultural climate of fierce ideological polemics and extreme pluralism. Composer and ethnomusicologist Robert Fleisher has carefully preserved the spontaneity of their narratives, complementing them with informative annotations and musical examples. The book is a highly committed group of musicians in a highly musical country.

– Jehoash Hirshberg, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

the first-person narratives collected here and the broad spectrum provided by Robert Fleisher, on musical life and creative activity in Israel, permit and insight into the general cultural atmosphere and the role of music in a steadily developing country.

– Peter Gradenwitz, University of Freiburg/Breisgau

There is no more compelling work on the aesthetics of modern Israeli musical life. . . . One of the most exciting works on composers and contemporary music at the end of the twentieth century.

– Philip Bohlman, University of Chicago