LEEF, YINAM (1953– ), Israeli composer. Born in Jerusalem, Leef studied composition with Mark *Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy for Music and Dance; with Richard Wernick, George *Rochberg, and George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his doctorate; and with Luciano Berio at Tanglewood. He taught at Swarthmore and Haverford colleges, Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, and the New School of Music. At the Jerusalem Rubin Academy, he became chairman of the Department of Composition, Conducting, and Theory in 2003. Leef is the recipient of the Halstead Prize, the Hilda K. Nitzsche Prize in Music, the Israel Composers' League Prize, the ACUM Prize, and the Prime Minister's Prize for Israeli Composers.
Leef's list of compositions includes orchestral works: Violin Concerto, 1983; Scherzos and Serenades (1989); two symphonies, 1981/92 & 1995; Viola Concerto (1998); Serenity Lost (2004); choral works (Sounds, Shadows…, 1987); vocal works (The Invisible Carmel, 1982; A Place of Fire, 1985); and chamber and instrumental music: Canaanite Fantasies for various instrumental ensembles (1981); Tefilkah (1997); Tryptique [Homage to Partos] (1997); 2 string quartets (1978 & 2001); Reminiscences of Tranquility (2002); Soliloquy for violin (2003).
Leef's works are characterized by his threefold commitment: to universal, Western-oriented post-serial composition; to local or locally echoing musical traditions of Jewish and Middle Eastern modality and timbre; and to the young Israeli ("Canaanite") search for musical identity. Leef 's works often implicitly give expression to the composer's subjective, rather understated though affectionately consoling response to the intense reality of life in Israel. Leef 's poetics is based on drafting dynamic, dramatic processes of a formal nature, and on constituting contrasts and carefully mediating between them. He keeps using specific materials and models, embedding them, variously disguised, in new contexts.
Grove Music Online; R. Fleischer, Twenty Israeli Composers (1997).