Tzvi Avni

Israeli composer

Tzvi Avni (b.1927, Saarbrücken, immigrated in 1935, lives in Tel-Aviv). A 2001 Israel Prize laureate, Avni is one of the most performed of the second generation. He was the recipient of 1986 ACUM prize for life achievements, and has served in many institutional roles such as the chair of Israel Composers’ League and ISCM World Music Days (Israel, 1980). Studying with Ehrlich, Ben-Haim and Seter, he emulated the Mediterranean style, and wrote his witty, playful and optimistic Capriccio (piano, 1955/1975) and the first Sonata (piano 1961)—where melody is one of his strengths, as in his later works. He then went to the US for studies of electronic music under Vladimir Ussachewsky. He also studied with Copland and Foss. His style has consequently changed dramatically, although he maintained some elements of his melodic roots in the pieces he wrote in the stormy 1960s and 1970s. Of his most performed pieces since that time is his avant garde Meditations on Drama (chamber orchestra, 1965) where he used tone clusters and box-notation, but the piece is based on an original 12-note scale clearly related to his past writings. Also often-performed is his late-Mediterranean Mizmorei Tehilim (1967). His major works include some 15 orchestral works, 10 chamber music pieces, and over 25 choral and vocal works, in addition to solo and electronic music. Among his major works are also: Prayer (strings, 1962), Five Pantomimes (8 instruments, 1968), Kaddish (cello and strings, 1987), Desert  Scenes (symphony, 1990), and The Ship of Hours (symphonic, 1999).

Written by Dr. Ronit Seter