Orgad Ben Zion
Born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, in 1926, Ben-Zion Orgad immigrated to Israel in 1933. He began to study the violin in 1934 with Rudolf Bergman and continued until 1942, with Paul Ben-Haim theory and composition. In 1947 he graduated from the Jerusalem Music Academy as a student of Josef Tal. Although he constantly searches for the new, he has not rejected the past but made use of it in novel ways. In fact, having proved to be a strong, fiercely independent creative personality, he has cut and followed his own unique path and his work can be characterized as a fusion of Jewish tradition, Israeli culture and the Hebrew language - all of which are rooted in ancient traditions. A significant part of his works is vocal, and is inspired by, and written on biblical texts; medieval Hebrew texts and modern Hebrew poetry. In his work Orgad achieves a unique relationship between word and sound: the word endows the sound with its singularity and the sound enhances the mystery within the word. Since Orgad is also a prolific poet and writer with profound knowledge of and great sensitivity to the musical character of the Hebrew language, words form an integral part of his musical language, both in his vocal and his instrumental works. The music of the words inspires as well as structures his musical sentences. Orgad has composed 84 works for different instrumental ensembles, all of which have been performed, many by leading conductors, among them Leonard Bernstein and Gary Bertini. It is his close collaboration with Mr. Bertini that has produces such highlights as MIZMORIM, HALLEL and the passion THE OLD DECREES. In 1997 Orgad was awarded the Israel Prize for Music. Ben-Zion Orgad died, after a prolonged illness, in Tel Aviv, on April 28, 2006.