Lived: July 5, 1897 - January 14, 1984
Why you should know him: An Israel Prize winning composer, he championed a Jewish national music for the Jewish state.
Born to a Jewish family in Munich, Germany, Ben-Haim was assistant conductor under Bruno Walter — one of the greatest conductors of the century, and also a German Jew who would be threatened by the Nazis — before making aliyah (immigrating to the Holy Land) in 1933, after Hitler took power.
Ben-Haim lived in Tel Aviv and became an Israeli citizen once Israel gained her independence in 1948. Composing a variety of works — chamber music, choral music, and pieces for both orchestra and soloists — Ben-Haim championed a Jewish national music for the new Jewish state. For his works, he was awarded the Israel Prize in 1957.
Above, enjoy Paul Ben-Haim's Symphony No. 1, Fanfare to Israel, the first symphony to be composed and premiered in the Jewish state by a Jewish composer.