Noam Sheriff (b. Tel-Aviv, 1935-2018), composer, conductor and lecturer. Sheriff is the only celebrated Israeli composer of his generation that also developed a career as a conductor, and as musical director of the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra (1973-1982) and of the Israel Symphony Orchestra of Rishon-LeZion (1989-1995). He taught orchestration at the Cologne Musikhochschule (1983-6), gave a conducting course at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and chaired the The Rubin Israel Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University (1998-2000), where he taught for a couple of decades, beginning as a professor in 1990.
Since his debut as a 22-year-old composer, with his 1957 Festival Prelude
performed that same year by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein
, he has written over 25 major orchestral and vocal works, and a similar number of chamber and solo works. His works, influenced by his teacher Ben-Haim
, range between light classical, based on folk tunes (early in his career) through-composed pieces with clusters, microtones and aleatoric effects (a few pieces in the late 1960s), to his personal, local interpretation of neo post-romanticism.
His major works include orchestral compositions, such as: Israel Suite (1967), May Ko Mashma Lan… (1976), La Follia Variations (1984), Akeda (The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1997); Concertos: Song of Songs (flute, 1981), Violin (1986), “Scarlattina” (piano, 1994), Cello (1996); and vocal with orchestra, such as his trilogy: Mechaye Hametim (1985), Sephardic Passion (1992), and Psalms of Jerusalem (1995). Sheriff is known and often performed in Germany. He is published by the Israel Music Institute and by the German publisher, Peters.