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Sheriff, Noam


SHERIFF, NOAM (1935– ), composer, conductor. Born in Tel Aviv, he studied conducting and piano with Ze'ev Priel, horn with Horst Salomon, and composition (1949–57) with Paul *Ben-Haim. In 1955–59 he studied philosophy at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Sheriff pursued his musical training at a conducting course with Igor Markevitch in Salzburg (1955), and studied composition with Boris Blacher at the Berlin Musikhochschule (1959–62). He was music director of the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra (1972–82), the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon le-Zion (1989–95), and the Israel Chamber Orchestra (2002–04) and, from 2004, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra. He taught at the Cologne Musikhochschule (1983–86), at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem (1986–89) and in Tel Aviv (1990–2000), and as the latter's director (1998–2000). He also served as music advisor to the Israel Festival (1985–88).

In 1957, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, his work Festival Preludes (Akdamot le-Mo'ed), which won the Sol Hurok prize, was performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard *Bernstein.

Over the years Sheriff wrote many works which refer to specific national subjects and events. His music often displays linkage to various Jewish cultural sources and musical traditions. By fusing Eastern and Western, new and old (sometimes, ancient) musical elements in contexts rooted in the Jewish cultural heritage and openly based upon fundamental compositional models of Western music, Sheriff created a special musical idiom characterized by multiple historical sentimentality.

Sheriff's list of works includes Israel Suite for orchestra (1967); Song of Songs for flute and orchestra (1981); Nocturnes, Six Songs for voice and piano (1982); Prayers for string orchestra (1983); La Folia Variations for orchestra (1984); Dodecalogue (Trei Assar) for twelve celli (1984); Meḥayyei ha-Metim (Revival of the Dead), Symphony for tenor, baritone, boys' choir, men's choir and orchestra (1985); A Vision of David for orchestra (1986); Violin Concerto (Dibrot) (1986); Cello Concerto (1987/96); A Sephardic Passion for alto, tenor, mixed choir and orchestra (1992); Scarlattiana, Concerto for piano and orchestra (1994); Psalms of Jerusalem for tenor, bass, four mixed choirs and orchestra (1995); String Quartet No.2 ("Rosendorf") (1996); Akedah (The Sacrifice of Isaac) for orchestra (1997); and Bereshit (Genesis) for soloists, children's choir and orchestra (1998).

Sheriff's awards include the first prize of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Conducting Competition (1959); the acum Prize for his life's work (1995); and the emet Prize, sponsored by the amn Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in Israel, under the auspices of the prime minister of Israel (2003).

[Yuval Shaked (2nd ed.)]

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