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Lavry, Marc


LAVRY, MARC (1903–1967), composer and conductor. Born in Riga, Lavry studied at Oldenberg and at the Leipzig Conservatory and worked as conductor in Riga, Saarbruecken, and Berlin, where he was associated with the Laban dance ensemble and the Universal film studio. He settled in Palestine in 1935 and conducted at the Opera Amamit and the Palestine Broadcasting Service. In 1949 he became director of the music section of Kol Zion la-Golah (the World Zionist Organization's broadcasts to the Diaspora), for which he established a permanent choir. In 1962 he settled in Haifa, where he continued his musical activities under the sponsorship of the municipality.

Lavry's many compositions – his last work bears the opus number 349 – represented a style and ideology basically identical with the Mediterranean period of Israel music. Their melodic foundation is compounded of east Ashkenazi and Near Eastern elements, as well as the new folksong of Ereẓ Israel, which Lavry both drew upon and helped to form. His best-known work, the symphonic poem Emek (1937), was based on his song for choir and orchestra, with the same name, to a poem by Raphael Eliaz, written about one year earlier. His song Ḥanita for choir and orchestra had originally been a part of Dan ha-Shomer ("Dan the Guard," 1945, libretto by Sh. *Shalom and Max *Brod) which was the first Israel opera. Other important works were Shir ha-Shirim ("Song of Songs"), oratorio; Avodat ha-Kodesh, a Sabbath liturgy written for Temple Emanu-El of San Francisco; the songs for choir and orchestra Kinneret, Kittatenu ba-Laylah Zo'edet ("Our Platoon Marches in the Night"), and Ẓe'ad Shimshon ("March Forward, Samson"); two piano concertos; the opera Tamar (text by Louis Newman); Gideon (text by Ḥaim *Hefer); two symphonies ("Warsaw Ghetto" and "1949"); a symphonic poem Stalin-grad (first performed in Moscow in 1943); and the orchestral suite Israeli Dances.


M. Lavry, in: Taẓlil, 8 (1968), 74–77 (autobiography); H. Lavry, ibid., 9 (1969), 174–5; P.E. Gradenwitz, Music and Musicians in Israel (19592), 89–90.

[Bathja Bayer]

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