Singer, George

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SINGER, GEORGE (1908–1980), conductor, composer and pianist. Born in Prague, Singer studied piano and composition at the Music Academy (1924–26) and won a piano competition (1925). He made his début as an opera conductor in the Neues Deutsches Theater (1926–30). Thereafter, Singer went to Hamburg to conduct the Staatsoper. In 1934 he returned to Prague, where he gave the first radio performance of the concert version of Dvořák's first opera, Alfred. When the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, he went to Palestine in 1939 on the "illegal" immigrant ship Tiger Hill. He was among the founders and conductor of the Palestine Opera, serving until 1945. On the establishment of the Israel Opera in 1947, he became its permanent guest conductor. Singer often conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israeli Broadcasting Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and the Rubinstein Festival. From 1947 he also toured widely conducting orchestras and operas in Europe, the United States, and Russia (1956), giving especially noteworthy performances of the works of Czechoslovakian and Israeli composers. Among the opera premières he conducted were Darius *Milhaud's King David (1954); *Avidom's Alexandra the Hasmonean (1959), and Karel *Salamon's Vows. He gave the premières of several Israeli orchestral works, such as *Avidom's Symphony no. 4; Ben Haim's To the Chief Musician for orchestra, Symphony No. 2 and The Sweet Psalmist of Israel; *Boskovich's Oboe Concerto; and *Gelbrun's Rilke Songs. He was known for his phenomenal facility in sight-reading and conducting every nuance of an orchestral score. Among his compositions are Sinfonietta for orchestra (1950), two suites for orchestra (1957, 1960), a piano concertino (1965) and vocal and piano music.


Grove Music Online.

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]