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Orgad (Bueshel) ben Zion

ORGAD (Bueshel), BEN ZION (1926–2006), Israeli composer. Born in Germany, Orgad was brought to Ereẓ Israel in 1933. He studied composition with Paul *Ben-Haim and Josef *Tal, and graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music in 1947. In 1952 he won the UNESCO *Koussevitzky Prize, which enabled him to study in the United States with *Copland and Irving Fine. He obtained a degree (M.F.A.) from Brandeis University (1961).

Orgad was supervisor (1956–74) and chief supervisor (1975–88) of music at the Israel Ministry of Education and Culture. Deeply involved in Hebrew literature, he published a book of poetry. In 1997 he won the Israel Prize.

Among Israeli composers Orgad has been the most consistent in his commitment to the ideology of creating a modern Israeli musical style ingrained in ancient Jewish culture. He regarded the Hebrew language as "a bridge to tradition and its origins" (Fleisher, p. 131). His compositions derive their inspiration from two principal sources: The first is the melos of biblical Hebrew as expressed in the *Masoretic accents (Ta'amei ha-Mikra), as, for example, in his cantata Ve-Zot ha-Berakhah ("And This Is the Blessing"). The second principle is the irregular rhythmic values emanating from the meters of medieval Sephardi Jewish poetry, such as the piano composition Rashuyot.

Among his other works are Ha-Ẓevi Yisrael, symphony for baritone and orchestra (1949; revised 1958); Out of the Dust, for mezzo-soprano and four instruments (1956); Monologuefor Viola (1957), a string trio (1961); Mizmorim for soloists and chamber orchestra (1966–68); Hityaḥadut (Individuations no. 1), for clarinet and chamber orchestra (1981); Hityaḥadut no. 2, for violin, cello, and chamber orchestra (1990); Continuous Presence, for chamber orchestra (2002). He wrote "Ha-Potenẓi'al ha-Musikali shel ha-Safah ha-Ivrit" ("The Musical Potential of the Hebrew Language"), in: Proceedings of the World Congress on Jewish Music, Jerusalem, 1978, ed. Judith Cohen (Tel Aviv, 1982), 21–47.


NG2; S. Weich, "Musical Works of Ben-Zion Orgad," doctoral thesis (1971); A. Tischler, A Descriptive Bibliography of Art Music by Israeli Composers (1989), 178–81; R. Fleisher, Twenty Israeli Composers (1997), 128–35.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.