ZUR, MENACHEM (1942– ), Israeli composer. Born in Tel Aviv, Zur attended the Jerusalem Academy of Music and received a D.M.A in 1976 from Columbia University in New York. He wrote over 100 compositions in all musical genres: orchestral, chamber, vocal, electronic, and one full-scale opera, Neighbors. His works are frequently performed in Israel, the U.S., Central America, Europe, and the Far East. Zur served as the chairperson of the Israeli Composer's League in 2001 and was awarded the acum (Israeli ascap) prize for lifetime achievement and the Prime Minister's prize for composition.
He was constantly engaged, both theoretically and artistically, with the problems of pitch organization in post-tonal music. In his compositions, he uses concepts from set theory and cyclical arrays to create prolongation of motives modeled after *Schenkerian theory of tonal music. He was especially interested in contrapuntal relations among various contrasting bodies of sound, as in the series Discussions and in the Concerto for Tuba, Concerto for Piano, Concerto for Violin, Bassoon and Horn.
Although Zur's style is always modern, some works on liturgical texts reveal influences of traditional Jewish music, like Lamentations (Alto with Orchestra, 1984), Combinations (Children's Chorus with Tape), The Golem (Baritone with Orchestra, 1988), Kedusha Prayer (Ḥazzan Baritone with Children's Chorus). Some choral works in Hebrew involve a distinct Israeli idiom: A Tale of Two Sandals (Children's Chorus, 1985); Alleluia (Mixed Chorus); The Sacrifice of Isaac (Female Chorus and Piano, 1993). Among his other works are Keyboard Harmony (co-author, 1985); Concerto for Orchestra; three symphonies (including no. 2 – Letters to Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Berg, 1988–1994); Centers (Piano, 1982); Circles of Time (Piano, 1993).
NG2; M. Feingers, "Menachem Zur – A Profile," in: Israel Music News (1992).
[Yossi Goldenberg (2nd ed.)]