Conductor Mendi Rodan dies at 80

Famed Israeli conductor, music professor succumbs to cancer; funeral to take place in J'lem on Sunday.

mendi rodan 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
mendi rodan 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Conductor and music professor Mendi Rodan died overnight on Friday. He was 80. Rodan was diagnosed with cancer several months ago and succumbed to his illness on Friday overnight. He was the recipient of the Israel Prize in 2006. Rodan, born in Romania, was a precocious musician, playing violin at age five. In 1945, at only 16 years old, he became first violinist in the Romanian Radio Symphony Orchestra and by 1953 he was conducting that orchestra. He studied with several teachers, notably Constantin Silvestri, in Bucharest. Rodan immigrated here in 1960 with his wife Yehudit and two children. Rodan served in many positions in Israel, notable among them his tenure as chief conductor and musical manager of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (1963-1972). He also managed the Belgian National Orchestra and was a permanent guest conductor in the Oslo Philharmonic, Norway. He was also a permanent guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and recently managed the Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra (1993-2005). Rodan led some of the world's best orchestras, holding the baton in front of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra among many others. As an educator, Rodan taught conducting in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, which he also headed for a time. He was a guest professor in the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and the Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. From 2004 Rodan was also professor of conducting at the Buchman-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv University. When Rodan was given the Israel Prize, the jury said they chose him because he was "of the front line of Israeli musicians and one of the leading artists in the field of musical performance in Israel." Rodan was a resident of Jerusalem. His funeral will take place in the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem on Sunday.