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Avni, Tzvi (Jacob)

Avni, Tzvi (Jacob)

Avni, Tzvi (Jacob), German-born Israeli composer, teacher, and writer on music; b. Saarbrücken, Sept. 2, 1927. He emigrated to Palestine in 1935; studied with Abel Ehrlich and Seter at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music (diploma, 1958), and also received private instruction in orchestration from Ben-Haim. He was a student of Copland and Foss at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summer, 1963), later pursuing studies in electronic music with Ussachevsky and in music librarianship at Columbia Univ. (1963–64). He also studied with Schaeffer at the Univ. of Toronto (1964). He was director of the AMLI Central Music Library in Tel Aviv (1961–75), served as ed. of the journal Gitit (1966–80), was director of the electronic music studio (from 1971) and a prof. (from 1976) at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, and was chairman of the Israel League of Composers (1978–80) and of the music committee of the National Council for Culture and Art (1983–87). He received the ACUM Prize in 1966 for his Meditations on a Drama and in 1986 for his life’s work. In 1973 he won the Engel Prize for his Holiday Metaphors. In 1990 he received the Kuestermeier Prize of the Germany-Israel Friendship Assn., and in 1998 the Israel Prime Minister’s Prize for his life’s work as well as the Culture Prize of the Saarland State of Germany. After utilizing advanced compositional techniques, Avni pursued neo-tonal writing.


DRAMATIC: Ballets; incidental music. ORCH.: Prayer for Strings (1961; rev. 1969); Meditations on a Drama for Chamber Orch. (1965); Holiday Metaphors (1970); By the Rivers of Babylon for Chamber Orch. (1971; also for Full Orch., 1972); In This Cape of Death for Chamber Orch. (1974); 2 Psalms for Oboe and Strings (1975; also for Oboe and String Quartet); Michtam of David for Harp and Strings (1975–78; also for Harp and String Quartet); 2 Movements from Sinfonia Sacra (1977); Programme Music (1980); Mizmor for Santur or Xylophone and Orch. (1982); Metamorphoses on a Bach Chorale (1985); Kaddish for Cello and Strings (1987); Mashav, concertino for Xylophone, Strings or Winds, and Percussion (1988); Desert Scenes, sym. (1990); The Three Legged Monster, musical legend for Orch., Piano, and Narrator, after H. Yaddor-Avni (1995); Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, fantasy (1997); The Ship of Hours, 4 symphonic sketches after paintings by Mordechai Ardon (Saar-brücken, Oct. 1, 1999). CHAMBER: Wind Quintet (1959); Summer Strings for String Quartet (1962); 2 Pieces for 4 Clarinets (1965); Elegy for Cello (1967); 5 Pantomimes for 8 Players (1968); De Profundis, 2nd string quartet (1969); Lyric Episodes for Oboe and Tape (1972); Beyond the Curtain for Piano Quartet (1979); Tandu for 2 Flutes (1982); Saxophone Quartet (1990); Vitrage for Harp (1990); Fagotti Fugati for 2 Bassoons (1991); Variations on a Sephardic Tune for Recorder Ensemble (1992); Anthropomorphic Landscape No. 1 for Flute (1996), No. 2 for Oboe (1996), and No. 3 for Clarinet (1997). Piano: Capriccio (1955; rev. 1975); 3 sonatas (1961; Epitaph, 1979; On the Verge of Time, 1983); Triptych (1994). VOCAL: Collage for Voice, Flute, Percussion, and Tape (1967); Jerusalem of the Heavens for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1968); The Destruction of the Temple for Chorus and Orch. (1968); Synchromotrask for Woman’s Voice, Tape, and a Door (1976); A Monk Observes a Skull for Mezzo-soprano, Cello, and Tape (1981); Deep Calleth Unto Deep, Psalm- cantata for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. or Organ (1988–89); Three Lyric Songs on Paul Celan s Poems for Mezzo-soprano, English Horn, and Harp (1991); Makhelorka, 3 songs for Women’s or Children’s Chorus, after Garcia Lorca (1992); Songs and Melodies: In memoriam Yitzhak Rabin for Chorus, after N. Zach (1995); Kol Nazman (The Entire Time) for Women’s Chorus and Piano, after A. Gilboa (1997); Hodaya (Thanksgiving) for Chorus, after A. Shlonsky (1997); Se questo è un uomo, song cycle for Soprano and Orch., after P. Levi (1998). electronic:Vocalise (1964).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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