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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 the 2000s.

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 distinguished:
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 meet.
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 individuality.

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 right.

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 book.
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. Excerpts are exposed here.

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 life.

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 – “Daughters of Eve”   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 After my 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”).
  When 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 “Inbal”).

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.

All this 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.  
  Zohar Levy, the legendary drummer (Aharit Hayamim – The End of Days), on studying with Tsippi Fleischer LaIsha (Magazine for Women) 25.2.1974