Alexander Uriya Boskovich

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Alexander Uriah Boskovich, born 16 August, 1907, Kolozsvár, Hungary (later Cluj-Napoca, Romania), died 5 November, 1964, Tel Aviv, Israel. Composer, conductor, pianist and music critic, Boskovich fulfilled a major role in the first generation of Israeli artistic music and coined the term ‘Mediterranean music’. He studied piano with Hevesi Piroska and then in Vienna, in 1924, with Victor Ebenstein. In 1927 he took advanced piano classes in Paris with Lazar Levi, and studied composition with Paul Dukas, Alfred Cortot and Nadia Boulanger, and this shaped his predilection for French music, especially Debussy and Milhaud. From early age Boskovich, who came from a Hasidic family with roots in the Moravian town Boskovich, was interested in Jewish culture. Back in Cluj, in 1930, he founded a Jewish amateur orchestra named after Karl Goldmark, the Austrian-Jewish composer, and became one of the conductors of the State Opera. In the 1930\'s he got in contact with Jewish communities of the Carapathian mountains, and integrated many of their songs within his \"Jewish Folksongs Suite\" (1937), later to become \"The Golden Chain\". In 1938 Boskovich was invited by the Palestine Symphony Orchestra to serve as its conductor, and having accepted this offer, decided to settle in Tel-Aviv. The encounter with the landscape of the country and with the music of the region – including the music of the different Jewish communities, as well as Arabic music and the music of other ethnical groups – and with the Hebrew language, deeply influenced Boskovich, and found expression in both his musical work and writings. Boskovich was one of the founders of the Israel Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv (in 1944), where he taught theory and composition. He also taught at Tel-Aviv University. In 1956 he became music critic of the influential daily Ha’aretz and became known for his many articles on music, art and culture in Israel. In the early 1940\'s he composed songs for the Yemenite singer Bracha Zephira and made arrangements of Arabic instrumental music originally played by Iraqi Jews for the dancer Yardenah Cohen. In the 1960\'s he adopted Serialism. Boskovich composed orchestral, chamber and piano music as well as vocal music for choir, songs and music for the theatre.