2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Paul Ben-Haim: A Bridge between Two Worlds

Alanna C. Benoit♦
Dr. Jesse D. Krebs, Faculty Mentor

Born Paul Frankenburger, Paul Ben-Haim proved to be of vital importance to establishing a musical identity for the Jewish community in Israel. While his early style demonstrates the typical Western harmonic structure, form, and instrumentation, he later transforms it by incorporating ornamentation, embellishments, unusual modalities, and melodies typically found in traditional Middle-Eastern folk music. Combined, the two contrasting styles form beautiful works demonstrating rich orchestration while highlighting the various timbres of different instruments, flowing melodies that seemed to have a life of their own, and creative use of instrumentation that denotes influence of composers such as Mahler, Strauss, Wagner, and Debussy. Through his music, Ben-Haim helped the Israeli community establish its musical identity and garnered international fame in the process. His works played substantial roles in establishing a musical canon in a setting where one previously did not exist and hence earned him the title “Father of Israeli Music.” 

Keywords: Paul Ben-Haim, Composer, 20th Century, Music, Western Art Music , Middle-Eastern Folk Music, Father of Israeli Music


Presentation Type: Performance Art

Session: 313-4
Location: OP Performance Hall
Time: 2:30

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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