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Paul Ben-Haim

Paul Ben-Haim

Paul Ben-Haim (or Paul Ben-Chaim, Hebrew: פאול בן חיים) (5 July 1897 – 14 January 1984) was an Israeli composer. Born Paul Frankenburger in Munich, Germany, he studied composition with Friedrich Klose and he was assistant conductor to Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch from 1920 to 1924. He served as conductor at Augsburg from 1924 to 1931, and afterwards devoted himself to teaching and composition, including teaching at the Shulamit Conservatory.

Paul Ben-Haim and his wife, with the writer Max Brod

Ben-Haim emigrated to the then British Mandate of Palestine in 1933 and lived in Tel Aviv, near Zina Dizengoff Square.[1] He Hebraized his name, becoming an Israeli citizen upon that nation's independence in 1948. He composed chamber music, works for choir, orchestra and solo instruments, and songs. He championed a specifically Jewish national music: his own compositions are in a late Romantic vein with Middle Eastern overtones, somewhat similar to Ernest Bloch.

His notable students include Ami Maayani, Shulamit Ran, Rami Bar-Niv, Avraham Sternklar and Noam Sheriff. See: List of music students by teacher: A to B#Paul Ben-Haim.

Ben-Haim won the Israel Prize for music in 1957.[2]


  • Works, editions and recordings 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4

Works, editions and recordings

Selected recordings:

  • Symphony No. 1, Fanfare to Israel, Symphonic Metamorphoses. NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover Israel Yinon. CPO
  • Clarinet Quintet, Two Landscapes, Canzonetta, Improvisation and Dance, Piano Quartet. ARC Ensemble. Chandos
  • Paul Ben-Haim Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming the Sabbath, evening service) Soloists, Orchester Jakobsplatz München, Grossmann NEOS.
  • Sacred services from Israel. Marc Lavry, Yehezkel Braun, Paul Ben-Haim Kabbalat Shabbat. Naxos. Milken Archive[3]
  • Melodies, Arion ARN 68643. Varda Kotler, Jeff Cohen, Philippe Bary and Alexis Galperine[4]

See also


  1. ^ Jehoash Hirshberg, Paul Ben-Haim, page 121
  2. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1957 (in Hebrew)". 
  3. ^
  4. ^

Further reading

  • Hadassah Guttmann, The Music of Paul Ben-Haim: A Performance Guide London: Scarecrow Press, 1992
  • Jehoash Hirshberg, Ben-Haim's Biography, IMI, 1990, Tel Aviv
  • Paul Ben-Haim's discography
  • The American Symphony Orchestra led by Leon Botstein performed the US Premiere of Ben-Haim's Symphony No. 2 (1948) on May 31, 2009 at Avery Fisher Hall, NYC [2]

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