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Yotam Haber and Italian Jewish Music

Saturday October 17, 2020 - Sunday October 18, 2020

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Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria and Milwaukee. He studied composition at Indiana University and Cornell University, and teaches at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. His eclectic catalog includes works for instrumental ensembles, string quartets, choruses, solo voices, and electronics. Since 2008, Haber has been developing a unique corpus inspired by the music of the Jews of Italy, from the age of the ghettos to the 20th century. In conversation with PBO scholar-in-residence Francesco Spagnolo, he will discuss his work, and how new musical composition can draw from early music and the ever-changing repertoires of synagogue oral traditions.


YOTAM HABER, composer

His music hailed by New Yorker critic Alex Ross as “deeply haunting,” by the Los Angeles Times as one of five classical musicians “2014 Faces To Watch,” and chosen as one of the “30 composers under 40” by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Project 440, Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee. He is the recipient of a 2017 Koussevitsky Commission, a 2013 Fromm Music Foundation commission, a 2013 NYFA award, the 2007 Rome Prize and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. He has received grants and fellowships from the MAP Fund (2016), New Music USA (2011, the New York Foundation for the Arts (2013), the Jerome Foundation (2008, the Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation (2011), Yaddo, Bogliasco, MacDowell Colony, the Hermitage, ASCAP, and the Copland House.

In 2015, Haber’s first monographic album of chamber music, Torus, was hailed by New York’s WQXR as “a snapshot of a soul in flux – moving from life to the afterlife, from Israel to New Orleans – a composer looking for a sound and finding something powerful along the way.”

Recent commissions include works for Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor; an evening-length oratorio for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, CalARTS@REDCAT/Disney Hall (Los Angeles); New York-based Contemporaneous, Gabriel Kahane, and Alarm Will Sound; the 2015 New York Philharmonic CONTACT! Series; the Venice Biennale; Bang on a Can Summer Festival; Neuvocalsolisten Stuttgart and ensemble l’arsenale; FLUX Quartet, JACK Quartet, Cantori New York, the Tel Aviv-based Meitar Ensemble, and the Berlin-based Quartet New Generation.

Current projects include New Water Music, an interactive work (2017) for the Louisiana Philharmonic and community musicians to be performed from boats and barges along the waterways of New Orleans and a chamber opera, The Voice Imitator, with librettist Royce Vavrek (2021).

Haber is Associate Professor of Composition at the UMKC Conservatory and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass that has, since 1996, been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world. His music is published by RAI Trade.

PBO’s Jews & Music Initiative goes virtual! Once a month, with Scholar-in-Residence Francesco Spagnolo as your guide, take a virtual exploration that probes the rich legacies of Jewish composers and performers; non-Jews who worked with Jews or drew inspiration from them; the socio-political milieu they inhabited; and Jewish themes that have emerged across music and visual art over time.


Saturday October 17, 2020
Sunday October 18, 2020
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