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Noam Sheriff (Hebrew: נׂעם שריף * 7 January 1935 – 25 August 2018) was an Israeli composer, conductor, educator and arranger. Sheriff was one of Israel’s most versatile and world-renowned musicians. He was Artistic Director of the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra (1973-1982); Music Director of the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion (1989-1995); Professor of Composition and Conducting at the Tel-Aviv University's Samuel Rubin Academy of Music (since 1990) and the Academy's director (1998- 2000); Artistic Director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra (2002-2005); and Artistic Director of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra (since 2004).
Work as composer
Since the 1957 premiere of his work Festival Prelude by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein at the opening of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, his works have been regularly performed in Israel and all over the world.
In Noam Sheriff’s music one finds an original solution to the fusion of East and West, of musical elements from ancient Mediterranean cultures and from the West. Among his most significant works are the three scale vocal compositions that form a trilogy. Mechaye Hamethim (Revival of the Dead) which was premiered in Amsterdam by the IPO in 1987, based on the Jewish East-European traditional music as well as on the ancient oriental Jewish themes of the Samaritans. Sephardic Passion, which was premiered in Toledo, Spain, by the IPO, Zubin Mehta and Plácido Domingo in 1992, is based on the music of the Sephardic Jewry. Psalms of Jerusalem was premiered in 1995 in Jerusalem to open the 3000 year celebrations of that city with its four choirs around the hall singing in Hebrew and Latin.
His Mechaye Hamethim was performed by the IPO under Mehta in a unique concert at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem, marking Israel’s Jubilee, and will additionally feature in the 2012 Salzburg Festival. Sheriff's newest vocal work, Genesis, was commissioned and premiered by the Israel Philharmonic and Maestro Zubin Mehta at the festive concerts of Israel’s 50th Independence day. Sheriff completed an opera called Hagolem (The Clay Automaton).
Work as conductor
Noam Sheriff regularly conducts both his compositions and other works of the orchestral repertoire all over the world. Between 1989 and 1995 he was the Music Director of the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le-Zion which, under his leadership, achieved success unprecedented in Israeli musical history. Since January 2002 he has been the Music Director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, which, in its first season under his leadership (2002–03), won the praise of the critics and audiences. In April 2004 he was nominated Music Director of the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra.
Since 1963 Noam Sheriff has been teaching composition and conducting. He has taught at such institutes as the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University as well as the Musikhochschule in Cologne and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Over the years he has directed many music festivals in Israel as well as various television and radio programs. Since 1990 Noam Sheriff has been professor of composition and conducting at the Tel Aviv University's Rubin Academy of Music and, in the years 1998–2000 its Director.
- In 1991, Sheriff won the ACUM Prize, for his life's work.
- In 2003, he was awarded the EMET Prize, for music.
- In 2011, he was awarded the Israel Prize, for music.
He has also been nominated as one of the 50 most influential figures in Israeli music.
- Festival Prelude, 1957
- Heptaprism, Ballet, 1965
- Israel-Suite, 1967
- May Ko Mashma Lan..., Essay for harp and string quartet, 1976
- Essay for string orchestra, 1977
- Prayer for strings, 1983
- La Follia Variations, 1984
- Partita for viola and cello, "LI-GUR" 1984
- Mechaye Hamethim (Revival of the Dead), 1985
- Sephardic Passion, 1992
- Scarlattiana, piano concerto, 1994
- Psalms of Jerusalem, 1995
- Wenn das Pendel der Liebe schwingt...", Six Songs after Paul Celan, 1996
- Akeda, 1997
- Golem 13, Opera, 2008
- Resume of Noam Sherriff (in Hebrew), Israel Prize website.
- Judges Rationale for grant of Israel Prize (in Hebrew), Israel Prize website
- Composer Noam Sheriff wins Israel Prize for music Haaretz, March 9, 2011