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Byron will give a keynote paper at the conference "Schoenberg at 140 "

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Avior Byron

My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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Israeli Musicology Society Group is now working

Israeli Musicology Society Group

I am happy to announce the existence of the Israeli Musicology Society Group. This group is for discussions, announcements, questions and other issues concerning music, especially with regards to the aims and perspectives of the Israeli Musicological Society as defined in
I opened the group several days ago. I hope that it will encourage a real discussion between musicologists and musicians in Israel.
In order to read and participate in the discussions press the following link:

Related posts:

Review of the IMS conference 2008: what there is and what there is not to read in Hebrew in Music  

Israeli Musicological website: Byron’s respondes to Hirshberg

A phone call from Prof. Dalia Cohen



On fear: Schoenberg, Stravinsky and the Israeli music scene

The problem

One of the things that make me sad about the Israeli music scene (including musicologists, composers, performer and critics) is the problem of miscommunication and isolation. People are working alone and find it hard to make mutual projects and co-operations. I felt it strongly in the Music department in the Bar-Ilan University as well as in the Israeli Musicological Society. In both places one can find talents on different levels. Yet, the ability to create something together was usually sabotaged by fear.

In the Bar-Ilan Music department there was no conversation on how one should educate the students. This was left (presumably) to very few people. In any case no conclusions of such discussions were communicated to the teachers or students. In the Israeli Musicological society there was some discussion on how to promote Israeli musicology and music, yet this was usually sabotaged by few noise people, others who promised and did nothing and others who simply gave up. It seems that everyday troubles and the fear from one another paralyze any mutual action and cooperation.


Schoenberg and Stravinsky

I have no idea whether this is a problem which occurs only in Israel (I have little to compare with). History seems to indicate that one can find the problem also in other places and periods. The most famous and perhaps the saddest case is that of Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Peter Yates wrote in a letter dated 17 May 1952: ‘Nowdays artists work in closed boxes… Our artistic life is typified by Stravinsky, who lived here more than fifteen years without ever meeting Schoenberg in public or private, but now attends performance of the old man’s work like a devotee.’ (Quoted in Dorothy Crawford, Evenings On and Off the Roof (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), p. 127). Only after Schoenberg died, Stravinsky allowed himself to be influence by Schoenberg’s music in a more open way than in the past. Now it is understandable that this happened. Schoenberg wrote a piece titled Three satires that was partly against Stravinsky. He also wrote and talked against him in various occasions. Also Stravinsky attacked Schoenberg. Yet could they not find a way to go beyond this nonsense and communicate with each other during those years that they were practically neighbors?


The future

In the age of Social web sites, it seems sad that one can connect with people on the other side of the world, yet find it hard to communicate with their neighbors. If there is any chance that Israeli classical music (including composition, musicology and performance) will become less provincial, than it will be by overcoming fear and mistrust, and by starting to work together.     


Related posts

Music University on the web

Some thoughts on the Israel Musicological Society’s website

Review of the IMS conference 2008: what there is and what there is not to read in Hebrew in Music

Music University on the web

Being a young music scholar in Israel is almost impossible. In other counties it is also very hard. A few words about the situation in Israel, which could serve as a case study. There are only five small universities: Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv University, Haifa University, Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva, and Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. There is only one musicological department in Jerusalem which has only four scholars who are there on a permanent basis and there is