Kopytman, Mark Ruvimovich

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KOPYTMAN, MARK RUVIMOVICH (1929– ), Israeli composer, teacher and musicologist. Kopytman was born in Kamenets-Podolski, U.S.S.R. He graduated from the Chernovtsy Music School in piano in 1950 and from the Lvov Conservatory in composition and music theory in 1955. He received a Ph.D. from the Moscow Conservatory (where he studied from 1956 to 1958 in the class of Professor S. Bogatyrev) and also graduated from the Chernovtsy Medical Institute in 1952. He taught composition and music theory at the Alma Ata Conservatory from 1958 to 1963 and the Kishinev Institute of Arts from 1963 to 1972. In 1972 he immigrated to Israel and became a professor at the Rubin Academy of Music and the Hebrew University, both in Jerusalem. His master classes, as well as his participation in composers' competition juries, are highly esteemed all over the world. His honors include the Koussevitsky International Record Critics Award (1986) and the acum lifetime achievement award from Israel (1992).

Kopytman's early works show the influence of Prokofiev and Bartok (his symphony of 1956; his choral cycle Distance beyond Distance based on the poem by Tvardovsky, 1960; his vocal cycle based on the poems of S. Kaputikyan (Songs of Anguished Love, 1964)). Kopytman's interest in the folklore of various peoples was reflected in his first quartet of 1962, where he used themes from Kazakh folklore, while Moldavian folklore and traditional images of Moldavia are reflected in his 1965 Songs of the Woods oratorio with text by V. Teleuke, and his opera Casa Mare (1966), based on the play by I. Drutze. Kopytman's second quartet (1966) and the re-orchestration for cello and string orchestra (1981) which he entitled Kaddish can be considered in some ways close to the "Jewish line" in the work of Shostakovich.

From the late 1960s Kopytman began to use contemporary avant-garde means of composition (aleatory music, sonoristics, etc.), employing them creatively and sometimes combining them with traditional elements (the long development of melodic lines, polytonality, with free use of Eastern, including Jewish, folklore). Kopytman's works from the 1970s on were characterized by the use of heterophony, a blending of some simultaneously sounding layers, which are the variants of the same melodic line. Such musical textures characterize Kopytman's October Sun (1974) for mezzo-soprano, piano, flute, and percussion with text by the Israeli poet Yehuda *Amichai about the tragedy and heroism of the Yom Kippur War; Rotations, a piece for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (1979); Cantus ii (1980) for string trio; Memory (1982) for singer and orchestra; Letters of Creation (1986) for voice and string orchestra, and so on. In many of his works since the 1980s, the deeply imbued stratum of Jewish historical memory is present. His chamber opera Susskind von Trimberg (1982–83), with libretto by Recha *Freier (premiered in Jerusalem in 1983), is based on the tragic story a of Jewish musician in medieval Germany. Usually, Kopytman preferred to avoid citations while revealing the national nature of a piece first of all through its melodic atmosphere. However, in Memory, Kopytman introduced a Yemenite Jewish melody, being inspired by the voice and performance of the authentic Yemenite singer Gila Bachari. In his recent vocal cycle If There Are Seven Heavens (2001, on the metaphoric text of E. Jabes), the composer touched on the subject of the Holocaust. Among Kopytman's works on music theory are Muzykal'nye formy i zhanry ("Musical Forms and Genres," 1959); O polifonii ("On Polyphony," 1961); and Khorovoe pis' mo ("Choral Composition," 1971).

add. bibliography:

ng2; mgg2; Y. Kreinin (ed.), Mark Kopytman: Voices of Memories, Essays and Dialogues (2004).

[Yaakov Soroker /

The Shorter Jewish Encylopaedia in Russian /

Yulia Kreinin (2nd ed.)]