Verdina Shlonsky

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Verdina Shlonsky, Tel Aviv, 1936

Verdina Shlonsky (Hebrew: וורדינה (רוזה) שלונסקי) (January 22, 1905, Kremenchuk, Russian Empire – February 20, 1990, Tel Aviv) was the first female Israeli composer, pianist, publicist and painter.


Verdina (Rosa) Shlonsky was born to a Hasidic Jewish family in the Russian Empire, the youngest of six children. (The Hebrew root of the name Verdina is וורד "vered" or "rose".)

The family immigrated to Palestine in 1921,[1] but she remained in Vienna to continue her music education. From there, she moved to Berlin, where she studied with pianists Egon Petri and Artur Schnabel. In Paris, she studied composition with Nadia Boulanger, Edgard Varèse and Max Deutsch. In 1925, she and her sister a successful opera singer Judith Shlonsky (Nina Valery), who had returned to Europe, married two brothers: Sigmund and Alexander Sternik. Both couples soon divorced.[2]

Upon settling in Palestine, she joined the faculty of the Tel Aviv Academy of Music. Among her noted compositions were "Hebrew Poem" (1931) and "Quartet for Strings", which won an award at the 1948 Béla Bartók Competition in Budapest.

She was the younger sister of poet Avraham Shlonsky, and older sister of the mezzo-soprano Nina Valery.

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