Yehuda Engel

Yehuda Engel (1924-1991)

Yehuda Engel’s music for recorder had opened a window to some fantastically intimate music which had made me curious to find out more and more about this unique composer.

Yehuda Engel was born in Vienna on October 25th 1924. In 1939 he had immigrated (with his accordion) to Israel. Only a month before that his entire family immigrated from Vienna to China, the only safe place for Jews at the time.

For 2 years Yehuda was a student at an institution belonging to “Aliyat Hanoar” where his teachers have noticed his musical talent, and had made arrangements for him to take regular weekly piano lessons with a reputable piano teacher in the city.

2 years later, when Yehuda turned 19, he moved with his entire group of fellow students to a kibbutz in the making: Ein Gev (by the sea of Gallilae), where he organized a small choir and an instrumental ensemble. The heads of the settlement sent him to study choir conducting and it was in this period that Yehuda composed his first pieces.

In 1943, as his group moved to Pardes Hanna, Yehuda received from his friends assistance in funding a complete year of musical studies at the Jerusalem Music Conservatory, where he managed to study 3 years worth of studies in one, and meet his future wife – Shoshana.

In 1948 they got married, and Yehuda auditioned for a conducting course with the great Lenny Bernstein in Tanglewood. Bernstein accepted him to the courses, yet Yehuda chose to stay with his family in the kibbutz (Maagan Michael).

In 1952 Yehuda created, together with Benjamin Pintus and Avraham Deus the United Kibbutz Choir, on which he conducted 25 years, alongside other jobs as condcuting the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Chamber Choir as well, as teaching music to the children of Maagan Michael.

In 1959 Yehuda Engel traveled, accompanied by his family, to continue his studies in Vienna, where he concentrated upon choral and orchestral conducting.

Yehuda Engle had composed about 300 pieces for a multitude of instruments, voices in a multitude of generes.

Some music by Yehuda Engel:

Recorder quartet (1985) performed live by Owlos quartet:

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 “Two sides of the coin” 2nd mov.
Raz Slutsky- cello, Rut Zori- piano

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Wikipedia article (Hebrew) 

Detailed biography on Ma’agan Michael’s memorial site (Hebrew)