Josef Tal, born 18 September 1910 (as Josef Gruenthal), in Pozen, Poland , died 25 August, 2008, in Jerusalem.
Israeli composer and pianist, one of the founders of Israeli art music. Short after his birth his parents moved to Berlin. He studied composition at the "Staatliche Akademische Hochschule" with Paul Hindemith and Heinz Tiessen, music history with Curt Sachs and Piano with Max Trapp. He settled in Palestine in 1934 and after a short stay in Kibbutz Gesher, he moved to Jerusalem. Tal performed as a pianist, taught piano lessons and played with the newly-founded Palestine Orchestra (later The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). He also taught piano and composition at the Palestine Conservatory and was among the founders of the Academy of Music in Jerusalem. In 1950 he was the first lecturer on music at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in 1965 he was among the founders of the Department of Musicology there. Tal was the pioneer of electronic music in Israel. He set up a studio at the Hebrew University where in addition to composing he conducted an extensive research project on the notation of computer music. His electro-acoustic compositions combine electronically generated sound with conventional instruments and voices. Tal strongly opposed any external ideological pressures in the direction of the artificial concoction of a supposed "national style" and kept abreast of all subsequent developments in western music, including serial techniques.
He composed Orchestral, Chamber and solo music for voice and instruments and operas.
Among his works:
· Piano sonata (1950)
· Succot Cantata (1955)
· Rahel songs (1955)
· Symphony n.2 (1960)
· Concerto no.5 for piano and tape (1964)
· String Quartet no.2 (1964)
· The opera Achmedai (1969), text by Israel Eliraz
· The opera Masada (1972), text by Israel Eliraz
· Cello Treaties (1973)
· The opera Yosef (1995), text by Israel Eliraz.
Tal won the Israel Prize (1971), three Engel Prizes (1949, 1957, 1977), The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Prize (1957), the MILO Prize (1963), the Arts Prize of the City of Berlin (1975), the Wolff Prize (1983) and the J.W. Stamitz Prize (1995). He has also been elected a Fellow of the West Berlin Academy of the Arts (1971) and honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (31981).
· Yehuda Cohen, The Heirs of The Psalmist, Israel's New Music, Am Oved Publishers Ltd, Tel Aviv 1990 (inHebrew)
· Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 19. 2nd ed. U.S.A, 2007
· Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2007-2008