Israelis You Should Know: Menachem Avidom

The Fellowship  |  January 6, 2017

Lived: January 6, 1908 – August 5, 1995

Known for: A renowned Israeli composer, Menachem Avidom wrote vocal, orchestral, and chamber music.

Why you should know him: Born Mendel Mahler-Kalkstein to a Jewish family in Austria-Hungary in 1908, Avidom made aliyah (immigrated) to British-mandate Palestine after World War I in 1925. He then studied music at both the American University of Beirut and the Paris Conservatory before returning to the Holy Land and settling in Tel Aviv to teach music theory.

He changed his Hebrew surname to Avidom, as it was the combination of his daughters’ names (Avi – the father of; D – for Daniella; O – and; M – for Miriam).

Avidom then served as general secretary of the Israeli Philharmonic from 1945 on, as well as the director of ACUM, the Israeli Performing Rights Society, beginning in 1955.

He composed works in many classical genres, including operas, cantatas, symphonies, concerti for flut and violin, and various chamber music, including a viola sonata. Avidom was awarded the Israel Prize in 1961 for his opera, Alexandra ha-Hashmonait.

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