FAMOUS JEWISH COMPOSERS
Light opera, operetta, musical comedy. Jewish composers have not just stood out in this genre but excelled in other genres. Some of the most famous Jewish composers of all time include:
Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most important Jewish composers. He was also a pianist, organist, and conductor of the early romantic period. He wrote symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music, and chamber music. His best-known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet.
Born 7 July 1860 in Bohemia as a German-speaking Jew of humble circumstances, Mahler displayed his musical gifts at an early age. He graduated from Vienna Conservatory in 1878. As a composer, he acted as a bridge between 19th-century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. Mahler has replaced Mendelssohn as the most admired Jewish composer. He produced 9 complete symphonies and sketches for a tenth, several orchestral song cycles, and many other songs with piano or orchestral accompaniment. Mahler’s second symphony is a popular piece of music. His long and complex compositions remain amazingly popular. As a Christian convert, he secured the position of director of the Vienna Court Opera. His works are generally designed for large orchestra forces, symphonic choruses, and operatic soloists. He died on 22 May 1911 after complications from Bacterial Endocarditis. The New York Times, reporting Mahler’s death, called him “one of the towering musical figures of his day”. On 18 February, in 2016, a BBC Music Magazine survey of 151 conductors ranked three of his symphonies in the top ten symphonies of all time.
Meyerbeer was born 5 September 1791 to a very wealthy Berlin family. His birth name was Jacob Liebmann Beer; he was born in Tasdorf, near Berlin, then the capital of Prussia, to a Jewish family. Beer, as he still named himself, studied with Antonio Salieri and the German master and friend of Goethe, Carl Friedrich Zelter. He spent several years in Italy studying and composing. He was an opera composer and has been described as perhaps the most successful stage composer of the nineteenth century. Beer’s first stage work, the ballet Der Fischer und das Milchmädchen was produced in March 1810 at the Court of Opera in Berlin. His 1824 opera II crociato in Egitto and Robert le diable (1831) brought him Europe-wide reputation and raised his status to a celebrity. In January 1832 he was awarded membership of the Légion d’honneur. He was at his peak with his operas Les Huguenots (1836) and Le prophète (1849); his last opera (L’Africaine) was performed posthumously. His operas made him the most frequently performed composer at the world’s leading opera houses in the nineteenth century. Meyerbeer’s grand opera style was achieved by his merging of German orchestra style with Italian vocal tradition. He received several honors and award during his lifetime. Meyerbeer died in Paris on 2 May 1864.
He was a composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. Offenbach was born on 20 June 1819 as Jacob Offenbach to a Jewish family in the German city of Cologne, which was then a part of Prussia. His father came from a musical family. Offenbach showed early musical talent. At the age of 14, he was accepted as a student at the Paris Conservatoire but found academic study unfulfilling and left after a year. From 1835 to 1855, he earned his living as a cellist, achieving international fame, and as a conductor. In 1858, Offenbach produced his first full-length operetta, Orphée aux enfers, which was exceptionally well received and has remained one of his most played works. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s -1870s and his uncompleted opera, The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. He was also well known for parodying other composers’ music. Offenbach became associated with the Second French Empire of Napoleon III; the emperor and his court were genially satirized in many of Offenbach’s operettas. Napoleon III personally granted him French citizenship and the Légion d’Honneur. He died 5 October 1880.
He was born into a lower-middle-class Jewish family on 15 September 1874 in Vienna. He was a composer, music theorist, teacher, writer, and painter. Schoenberg’s approach to music both in terms of harmony and development has been one of the most influential of 20th-century musical thought. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art. Early in his career, he extended traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique. He also coined the term “developing variation”. He was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea. He died 13 July 1951.
He was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer. Born in 1570, He was a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance period and early Baroque. He published 150 secular works in Italian. He died 1630.
He was born September 26, 1898. One of the most significant and popular American composers of all time. Gershwin was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He is known for his Broadway musicals as well as his orchestral and piano compositions in which he blended in varying degrees, the techniques and forms of classical music with the styles and techniques of popular music and jazz. His notable works which include: Porgy and Bess, An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, Lullaby, I got Rhythm, Swanee. He died 11 July 1937.
Other notable composers include Aaron Copland, Anton Rubinstein, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Leonard Bernstein, etc.