Avidom, Menahem, 1908-1995
Menahem Avidom, born 6 January 1908 (as Mahler-Kalkstein) in Stanislav, Russia (then Hungary), died 5 August 1995 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Israeli Composer. His mother was a cousin of Gustav Mahler. He studied at the American University in Beirut and at the Paris Conservatoire where his teachers included the composer Henri Rabaud. In 1925 Avidom immigrated to Palestine where he taught at the Music Teacher Training College in Tel Aviv and at the Tel Aviv Conservatory. Avidom was also a music critic, general secretary of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1946-52), adviser on the arts to the Ministry of Tourism (1952-55), chair of the Israel Composers’ League (1958-71) and general director of ACUM, the Israeli Performing Rights Society (1955-80). Avidom composed orchestral, chamber and piano music, operas and songs. After writing in an impressionist style he turned towards atonal composition. While studying in Beirut and during a four-year stay in Egypt, however, he became deeply influenced by Mediterranean and Asian folk music and French culture. These influences found their expression in arrangements for the Yemenite singer Bracha Zefira (1939). In the early 1960s Avidom was Influenced by the international trends and turned to 12-tones technique.
Among his works:
· Concerto for Flute and string (1944)
· Symphny No. 1 Symphonie Populair (1945)
· Concertino for violin and piano (1949)
· Symphony No. 3 Mediterranean Sinfonietta (1952)
· The Opera Alexandra ha'khashmonait (Alexandra the Hasmonean)
· Enigma Woodwind Quintet, piano and percussion (1962)
· Arthur Rubinstein six inventions for piano, hommage to the pianist (1974)
· Symphony no.10 Sinfonia Brevis (1981)
Avidom won the Israel Prize (1961), Engel Prize (1947), The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Prize (1951) and ACUM Prize (1962).
· Alice Tischler, A Descriptive Bibliography of Art Music by Israeli Composers,
Harmonie Park Press, Michigan, 1988
· Yehuda Cohen, The Heirs of The Psalmist, Israel's New Music,
Am Oved Publishers Ltd, Tel Aviv, 1990 (in Hebrew)
· Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol.2. 2nd ed. U.S.A, 2007