Paul Ben-Haim


Born: July 5, 1897 Died: January 14, 1984
Born Paul Frankenburger, Ben Haim studied piano, composition, and conducting at the Munich Academy of Arts. From 1924 to 1931 he served as conductor at Augsburg. He then returned to Munich to concentrate on composition but was forced to leave because of the onset of Nazi rule. He moved to Tel-Aviv in 1933 and took the name of Ben Haim. He went on to become the premier Israeli composer of his time, receiving the Israel State Prize in 1957 as well as the Joel Engel Prize from the city of Tel-Aviv. Primarily a composer of late-Romantic orchestral works, Ben Haim's work was influenced by the upheaval he experienced in abandoning his homeland because of the Nazis. He incorporated the culture of his new country into his writing and considered his work to be part of the effort to synthesize Eastern and Western culture, utilizing Middle Eastern peasant music and the rhythms of the hora, a folk dance of the area. As the leader of a group of Palestinian composers, Ben Haim worked to notate oriental folk song. His compositions, including songs and choral pieces, reflect this blending of cultural traditions.
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