Composer Benzion Orgad dies at 80

Israel Prize winner's work described as "penetrating, aching and nonconforming."

benzion orgad 88 (photo credit: )
benzion orgad 88
(photo credit: )
Veteran composer Benzion Orgad passed away Friday night at the age of 80 after battling a long illness, Army Radio reported. A native of Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Orgad immigrated to Israel in 1933 at age seven. He began to study the violin in 1934 with Rudolf Bergman and continued until 1942. In 1947, Orgad - a student of Josef Tal - graduated from the Jerusalem Music Academy. He was awarded the Israel Prize for musical scholarship in 1997. Orgad composed more than 90 musical works, including "Tone Alleys," "Tonegestures for Piano," and "Quartet for Strings No. 1 (Bereshit)." He was also one of the contributors to Like the Leaden Sky, the Terezin Ghetto Remembered in Works by Israeli and Czech Composers (Beth Hatefutsoth BTR 9902). A 1997 Jerusalem Post review described Orgad's "Bach to Suafir" as "penetrating, aching and nonconforming." In 1999, the composer's "Ad Profundos" was described in the Post as a "Philosophic opus, written in a clear 20th-century idiom [that] never gives ready answers." "Instead," the review continued, "[Orgad] poses questions, with the intrepidness and wisdom of maturity. He takes a listener on emotional journeys through the depths of loneliness.'"