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Boscovich, Alexander Uriah

Boscovich, Alexander Uriah

Boscovich, Alexander Uriah , significant Israeli composer; b. Klausenburg, Transylvania, Aug. 16, 1907; d. Tel Aviv, Nov. 13, 1964. He studied in Budapest; later enrolled at the Vienna Academy of Music, where he studied piano with Victor Ebenstein and composition with Richard Stôhr; then went to Paris, where he took courses with Dukas and Boulanger; also had a few lessons in piano with Cortot. From 1930 to 1938 he was engaged as conductor at the State Opera in Cluj; in 1938 he emigrated to Palestine; taught at the Tel Aviv Cons. (1945–64); wrote music criticism for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In his music, Boscovich incorporated quasi-oriental motifs in the framework of Western music; in several works, he made use of authentic Jewish folk songs, adorning them with modernistic harmonies. In this manner he wrote his most popular piece, Chansons populaires juives for Orch. (Haifa, March 15, 1938; orig. entitled The Golden Chain). Other works: Violin Concerto (1942); Oboe Concerto (1943); Adonai Ro’i (The Lord Is My Shepherd) for Alto Voice and Orch. (1946); Semitic Suite for Piano (1947; also for 2 Pianos, and for Orch.); Piccola suite for Flute, Snare Drum, and String Orch. (1956–57); Psalm for Violin and Piano (1957; contains thematic material from the Violin Concerto); Cantico di ma’alot (Song of Ascent) for Orch. (1960); Bal Yisrael (Daughter of Israel), cantata for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1960–61); With Joy and Gladness for 2 Violins, with optional Drum and Triangle (1961); Piece for Oboe and Harpsichord (1961–62); Lament for Violin or Cello, and Piano (1962); Concerto da camera for Violin and Chamber Ensemble (1962); Ornaments for Flute and 4 Orch. Groups (1964).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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