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Alexander, Haim


ALEXANDER, HAIM (Heinz ; 1915– ), composer and pianist. Alexander was born in Berlin. In 1936, following the ascent of the Nazis to power, he settled in Jerusalem and studied with Stefan Wolpe and Joseph *Tal at the Palestine Conservatory. He was one of the founders of the Academy of Music in Jerusalem (later the Rubin Academy), where he was professor until his retirement. He also lectured at the musicology department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the University of Pennsylvania, at the Jacques Dalcroze Institute, Geneva, and at nyu. A versatile musician and superb improviser, he taught piano, harpsichord, improvisation, theory, and composition. Like all other Jewish composers who emigrated from Central Europe in the 1930s, Alexander established his own personal response to the dialectics of the ideological pressure of the Zionist vision of the East and the internal pressure to retain and absorb the great European heritage. He was always alert and open to new ideas and influences. In the 1950s Alexander attended avant-garde seminars in Darmstadt and added the serial technique to his rich vocabulary, such as in Patterns (1965) for piano, while still retaining his penchant for lyrical, tuneful writing in the Nature Songs (1988). In 1971 Alexander undertook a large-scale project of transcribing traditional songs kept at the Jerusalem Sound Archives, many of which he later arranged for various ensembles. He published a textbook Improvisation Am Clavier, with two cassettes (Schott, 1987). His large output includes many choral works, songs for voice and chamber ensembles such as the cycle Ba-Olam ("In the World," 1976), orchestral works such as the Piano Concerto, chamber works, and many compositions for piano.


Grove online.

[Jehoash Hirshberg (2nd ed.)]

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