DORFMAN, JOSEPH (1940– ), Israeli composer. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Dorfman studied at the Stolyarsky School of Music (Odessa) and later at the Odessa Conservatory (1958–65) with Starkowa (piano) and Kogan (composition). In 1971 he received his Ph.D. in musicology at the Gnessin Musical Institute in Moscow. Already as a student he was engaged in a wide range of musical activities as a composer, lecturer, theoretician, coach, and conductor. During the 1960s, Dorfman was among the pioneers in performing and lecturing on contemporary Western music in the Soviet Union. A consistent field of interest was also Jewish music in all its aspects (art, liturgical, and folk). In 1973 he immigrated to Israel, where he was appointed professor of composition and theory at the Rubin Academy of Music (Tel Aviv University). There he also served as head of the Composition and Theory Department and head of the Academy. While continuing to promote both Jewish and contemporary Western music, he was artistic director of the International Festivals of Jewish Art Music and music director of the concert series "20th Century Music." Dorfman was also visiting professor at Columbia University, at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, and at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (Germany), as well as at Bar-Ilan University.
His early compositions of the Soviet period were influenced by early 20th century Russian music and by Hindemith. Later he moved in many directions, including recorded and live electro-acoustic improvisation, graphic notation, and various combinations of graphic and traditional forms of notation. His works include music for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and symphony orchestra, opera, ballet and oratorios, multimedia staging, and educational works. Dorfman was a prolific musician, performing as a solo pianist, a participant in various chamber groups, and conductor of concerts in several European festivals and radio programs.
[Yulia Kreinin (2nd ed.)]