Yinam Leef

browse music by Yinam Leef published by IMI

YINAM LEEF (b. 1953) grew up in a cultural melting pot, where East meets West, old and new coexist, and local and universal aesthetics are apparent at a change of a glance. While firmly rooted in Western musical tradition, Leef has combined in his music certain elements which are particular to Middle-Eastern sound-environment: melodic fragments, rhythmic or temporal aspects of music, or the relation to time and form. Thus in his works complex harmonies may live side by side next to long pedal tones, and irregular, jazzy rhythms next to timeless melismas. When honoring him with the Prime Minister Prize for Composers in 1993, the jury described him as a “native of Jerusalem, that ‘Place of Fire’, according to poetess Zelda, which recurs in his works... Word and sound, longing and protests, Canaanite spirit and academic ivory towers have all combined to constant motion that has in recent years gathered momentum, power and massiveness, when extended orchestral works have augmented the already existing corpus of chamber and solo compositions. The integration of Eretz-Israeli roots with characteristically Western patterns of composition lends Yinam Leef’s works both their concertantic-expressive nature and their polished crystallinity.”Leef’s creative work has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described his music as “attractive, colorful and richly expressive”, while the Luxemburg Wort called his 2nd Symphony “a most beautiful and unconventional work”. The Jerusalem Post simply labeled his Threads of Time and Distance “a masterpiece”. His Violin and Viola Concerti have both received the ACUM Prizes and his haunting vocal work A Place of Fire received a Citation of Honor from the City of Haifa. In 1993 he received the Prime Minister Prize for Israeli Composers. Leef was commissioned by prestigious organizations such as the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Mannheim Society for New Music, Swarthmore Music and Dance Festival, Jerusalem and Haifa Symphony Orchestras, the Israel Sinfonietta, The Israel Camerata Jerusalem and by numerous performing organizations in Israel and abroad. His works have been heard in most European countries, USA and the Far East and have enjoyed frequent performances in festivals worldwide, including the Tanglewood Music Festival, Israel Festival Jerusalem, Pittsburgh International Music Festival, the ISCM World Music Days in Hong Kong and Oslo, Musical Spring in St. Petersburg, Poland's Wratislavia Cantans and “The Old Testament in the Arts” Festival in Prague. All major Israeli orchestras have performed his works, and among the ensembles which have featured his compositions are Philadelphia’s Orchestra 2001, New York New Music Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Penn Contemporary Players, Ensemble Musica Viva Dresden, Notabu Ensemble für Neue Musik Düsseldorf, The Ridge and Colorado String Quartets and the Swedish Radio Choir. His works are published by the Israel Music Institute (IMI) and Theodore Presser Company, and have been released on CD’s by Angel, MII and JMC labels. Yinam Leef has always found immense satisfaction in the artistic and human interaction between composer and performer. He also sees great importance in his pedagogical work, transcending those universal aesthetic values he received from his own teachers – Kopytman, Wernick, Rochberg, Crumb and Berio – and encouraging young talents in composition to find their own individual voice. He is an Leef had taught at Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges, Philadelphia College of Performing Arts and the New School of Music. He is an Associate Professor at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where he has also served as Dean of Students (1990-94) and Chairman of the Department of Composition, Conducting and Theory (1995-1997, 2003 –). He was guest composer at the Berlin Hochschule der Kunste and Conservatorium Maastricht, and Guest Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.