Tsippi Fleischer (b. 1946, Israel)
Tsippi Fleischer was born in Haifa,
Israel, in 1946. Her parents, Polish-born Jewish pioneers -
Yaacov Fleischer from the city of Krakow and Shoshana, nee Mehl,
from the Jewish shtetl Rimanov - met in Palestine. Before Tsippi
was born her father's entire family had already perished during
the Holocaust. Many letters of Jakob Fleischer have survived They were written in Hebrew
|| As a three-year-old she was already
improvising at the piano.
In time she studied piano and theory formally at the Rubin Conservatory
of Music, Haifa, and matriculated from Haifa's Reali School
in the oriental stream. In 1978, she married the eminent comparative linguist Prof. Aharon Dolgopolsky (1930-2012), who had reached Israel from Moscow during the wave of Russian immigration of the 70s. In 1982 their
son Yaacov Dolgopolsky was born; today the young man's interests
lie in a combination of the fields of biblical studies, history
and theater. In spite of her widespread activities throughout
the world, Tsippi has never abandoned her hometown for any other
place of residence. She grew up in a Jewish-Arab environment
and the ambience of co-existence characterizing the city of
Haifa flows naturally into her creative oeuvre.
||Her academic degrees include: BMus in
theory, composition and conducting - the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem;
BA in Hebrew Language, Arabic Language, Literature and History of
the Middle East - Tel Aviv University; Music Teacher's Diploma - the
Levinsky College of Education, Tel Aviv; MA in Music Education - New
York University; MA in Semitic Linguistics - Tel Aviv University;
PhD in Musicology - Bar Ilan University, Israel. Her doctoral thesis
focused on historical research into the origins of Cherubini's
Médée and on an in-depth analysis, using a combination
of Heinrich Schenker's and Jan LaRue's analytical methods.
Amongst the many prizes awarded to Fleischer in Israel and abroad
are: the ACUM Prize (Israel Composers and Publishers) for
her life's work; the Prime Minister's Prize on the occasion
of Israel's 50th anniversary; the Unesco-Paris (Rostrum) Prize
for Composition for The Gown of Night and In the Mountains
of Armenia; Israel's Public Council for Culture and Art Prize
for her Oratorio 1492-1992; Foremost Career-Woman of Israel
for 1993 in the Field of Music awarded by Globes; the ACUM
Prize for Like Two Branches; awards and prizes of the governments
of Finland and the United States, and of the Brahms Gesellschaft
(Germany) and the Canadian Electro-Acoustic Community.
Fleischer’s style has diversified greatly during her creative
life; her many achievements are characterized by the dynamics of
change. The first beginnings in the 70s are typified by a search
for a compositional style in which to incorporate her oriental studies.
The 80s brought the formation and crystallization of this style,
marked by a finely honed tonality and images of the Israeli landscape.
At the end of the 80s her work reached new heights with settings
to music of literary Arabic texts. The outstanding work of this
period is the cantata Like Two Branches with a text by the
6th century Bedouin poetess Al-Khansa. A spurt of creativity in
the 90s found expression in daring musical textures inspired by
ancient, far-distant Semitic sources.
The listener is impressed by the tonal landscapes and ancient Semitic
languages – by the human, feminine imagination and drama,
together forming a moving panorama. It is this local view of the
Semitic Mediterranean East in the language of the avant-garde and
the personal, original and feminine stamp characterizing Fleischer’s
works that have gained her international acclaim. According to her,
the involvement in symphonic and operatic creativity which began
to evolve in the 90s, continues to gain an additional impetus during
In the operatic genre, the Chamber Opera Medea (world premiere,
Israel, 1997) was followed by the Grand Chamber Opera Cain and
Abel (world premiere, Israel, 2002). Both these works were given
their European premieres during 2004 and 2005. The operatic scenes
The Judgment of Solomon and Victoria and the Men (a
section of the full opera) made a considerable impact wherever they
were presented in Israel. The opera Oasis, entering into the
world of Hebrew children and their Bedouin counterparts in the Sinai
desert in the days of the Exodus from Egypt - their first encounter
and subsequent emotional parting, marks one of the pinnacles of the
composer's ideological and musical statement. The premiere is to take
place in Karlsruhe, Germany, in November 2010.
At the same time Fleischer began to work in the field of grand opera.
In October 2004 a CD of five symphonies was released: Tsippi
Fleischer - Symphonies I-V was produced by Vienna Modern Masters
(Cat. No. 3056).
To summarize her musical style, at least three directions may be
I. The combination of the exoticism innate in history and geography
with the reality of present time and locality.
II. The experiences of the maternal-feminine sub-conscious, revealed
in a dreamlike wave of inspiration, where realism and surrealism
III. A rich kaleidoscope of colors inherent in the sonorities of language
and of acoustics. Fleischer’s 30 years of composition reflect
important currents in the dynamics of contemporary music for the stage
in Israel and in the world at large. All her works have been recorded
by international recording companies (Vienna Modern Masters, Opus
One, Aulos Schwann Koch) and are broadcast on radio stations in
Israel and abroad. These recordings illustrate the composer’s
beauty of expression in a multiplicity of styles and with authentic
Fleischer is one of the most active contributors to the ideology
of the correlation between composition and music education in Israel,
advocating the synthesis between East and West. This also demonstrates
her profound pacifistic ideology. She has trained many generations
of young musicians who have since become well known in their own
The research into Hebrew Song as a reflection of the demography and
history of her people is a significant field of interest, and at present
she is deeply involved in the summary of her research and its preparation
for publication in the context of a number of textbooks and monographs.
Research into Hebrew Songs as a reflection of the demography and history
of her people has ever been an abiding love; at the moment she is
occupied in summing up her research and preparing for it publication
in the form of a number of basic books and monographs on music. Her
involvment in Hebrew Song began while she was still an adolescent,
studying in Haifa's Reali School; her school-leaving project- "Hebrew
Folksong: Its Historical Development" - is actually a substantial
In 2005, while summarizing an impressive decades-long period
of instruction in her unique method for treating the song's melodies,
she published a two-volume book
"The Harmonization of Songs" in which she describes in detail
her method, used by many Israeli musicians in their day-to-day works;
it has become a required textbook in the educational system.
Amongst her outstanding programs correlating education with composition:
the project Composers in Search of their Roots (1982-1985),
Hebrew Song Forums (1992-1996), the interdisciplinary kit for educators,
combining the fields of Bible studies, art and music, following on
her operatic scene The Judgement of Solomon, and the CD Girl
Butterfly Girl – A World Journey containing a huge book
– a combined undertaking with the Israel Music Institute, the
publisher of Girl Butterfly Girl. This initiative is particularly
interesting as it sheds light on the beginning of her compositional
The impressive disc containing some of her later chamber works, Lieder
(a Vienna Modern Masters double album, Cat. No. 1060) was
launched in December 2009 in Tel Aviv with the composer describing
the processes of composition and her work with the Tölz Boys’
Choir. This is the 20th disc of Fleischer’s works.
During November 2008 the most extensive collection of the composer’s
works was inaugurated, consisting of many original manuscripts and
testimonials clarifying her approach to composition, in addition to
scores and recordings. The catalog number in the music division of
the Israel National Library on the Hebrew University’s Giv’at
Ram campus, Jerusalem, is MUS 121.
During the early 70s, when she was in her 20s, Tsippi Fleischer
was well known in Tel Aviv as a talented
musician on the jazz and light music scene. She was
composing and arranging music in these genres and improvising
on the piano for performing groups such as: the trio –
which she formed and directed, “Little Lola’s Singing
Club” with the actress
Gila Almagor and “Bira umatsav ru’akh”
with Yaacov Agmon. At the same time she was involved in music
education and was privileged to teach some of the most talented
young people (of her own age!) who, in time, reached the heights
in Israeli music-making, some in the field of pop music and
theatre (David Krivoshei, Shlomo Gronich, Dori Parnes) and others
in classical music (David Shalon, Ilan Rechtman, Amnon Wolman).
Her home became the focal point for many of these young musicians.
Many musical prodigies came knocking on her door. Chava Alberstein,
then at the beginning of her career, recorded
death” , music by Tsippi Fleischer
to words by Haim Nahman Bialik – a moving song which continues
to be heard until today (it appears on the LP “Kmo tsemakh
bar” – “Like a Wildflower”).
discovered by her influential teachers Noam Sheriff and Yitzhak
Sadai, she was already writing theatre music (for Orna Porat,
for Hanan Snir) and ballet music (for Rami Beer and Yonat Klarr
of the Inter-Kibbutz Dance Company and for Sara Levi-Tanai of
While she was a student (and much in demand as a teacher as
well), she hitchhiked her way through many parts of the world.
Towards the end of the 70s she took a decisive step in the direction
of composition or the concert hall without it detracting from
her love for Hebrew Song or for education.
has happened alongside the impressive journey she has taken
as an outstanding composer in the world of contemporary art
music through which she has achieved much favorable exposure
in Israel and throughout the world.
A full chronological list of compositions, by opus numbers,
can be downloaded here.
Levy, the legendary drummer (Aharit Hayamim – The End
of Days), on studying with Tsippi Fleischer LaIsha (Magazine
for Women) 25.2.1974