Holdheim, Theodore

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HOLDHEIM, THEODORE (1923–1985), Israeli composer. He immigrated to Israel in 1933 following the Nazi takeover. He joined the socialist youth movement Hashomer Hatza'ir, and from 1943 he was a member of kibbutz Beit Alpha in the Valley of Jezre'el. He studied piano with Buch and composition under I. *Edel, Sh. *Rosowsky, H. *Jacobi, and A.U. *Boskovitch. In 1952–54 he studied composition in Juilliard and then pursued a degree in physics and chemistry at the Hebrew University. He devoted himself to training music and science teachers at the School of Education of the Hebrew University. His deep communal involvement inspired him to contribute functional music for kibbutz festivities, such as incidental music, choruses, and arrangements. He also directed the kibbutz choir and instrumental ensembles.

Holdheim was ideologically opposed to avant-garde music and insisted on writing communicative and easily accessible music. His style was based on meticulous development of tiny motifs into large formal structures, under the influence of Bach, Brahms, Debussy, and Hindemith, into which he infused traditional Jewish and folk Israeli motifs. In 1978 he won the Libersohn Prize. His works include the opera Continua, and chamber and piano works.

[Jehoash Hirshberg (2nd ed.)]