Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia

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Daniella Rabinovich

b. 1939

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During her twenty years as chair of the Tel Aviv Conservatory, music educator Daniella Rabinovich transformed the institute into a leading center for the education of young musicians and for the performance of chamber music.

Institution: Daniella Rabinovich


by Ronit Seter

Following decades of intensive work in management of Israeli music institutions, Daniella Rabinovich became a leading figure in the field in Tel Aviv in the 1980s and 1990s. From 1981 to 2001 she served as director of the Israel Tel Aviv Conservatory, which under her direction became a leading conservatory in Israel and the most prestigious center both for the education of distinguished young musicians and for the performance of fine chamber music by local talents and international established musicians.

The daughter of Suzette (Shoshana, 1908–1996) and composer Menahem Avidom (1908–1995)—one of the founders of Israeli art music (who hebraicized his original name, Mahler-Kalkstein, to the acronym Avi Daniella u-Miriam, his daughters)— Rabinovich was born on September 24, 1939. She studied music between 1956 and 1959 at what was at the time the best music college in Israel, the Midrasha for music teachers (today, Levinsky Teachers’ College) under Paul Ben-Haim (1907–1984), Herzl Shmueli (1920–2001), Gary Bertini (b. 1927), Ben-Zion Orgad (b. 1926), and Edith Gerson-Kiwi (1908–1992), who all later joined academic music departments once these were founded in the 1960s. After her military service, she worked as a music teacher and a conductor of small choirs. In 1966, after the Tel Aviv Academy of Music affiliated with Tel Aviv University, she established the academy’s music library and headed it until 1977. Her library acquisitions included many contemporary scores, which were crucial for the development of Israeli composers of the third generation. During that time she also completed her B.A. in musicology and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. In 1977 she was invited to join the founding staff of the music department of the Open University in Tel Aviv, where she participated in writing its first music textbooks. Following her stay and further music studies in Paris, between 1978 and 1980, she was chosen to chair the Tel Aviv Conservatory, which at that time was in a state of disrepute and physical disrepair. She initiated the conservatory’s relocation to an affluent neighborhood in north Tel Aviv in 1982. Her unrelenting, centrist-yet-passionate style of direction produced outstanding results. In her twenty years as the director of the conservatory, especially after its transformation into a new and spacious complex of buildings complete with a fine chamber concert hall, the conservatory—then renamed The Ted and Lin Arison Israel Conservatory of Music Tel Aviv—has become the leading music institute for young musicians (under eighteen) in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, as well as a distinguished center for chamber music, master classes and opera workshops.

During those two decades Rabinovich also served (from 1988 to 1994) as a music specialist for the Tel Aviv Municipality culture affairs department, where she initiated, produced and directed a series of chamber concerts for thousands of Tel Aviv grade school children. From 1995 to 2002 she was a member of the [National] Council for Culture and Art, and since 1995 she has been on the board of the Israel Music Institute (the national publishing house of art music). In 2002 she was appointed a member of the music education board of the Ministry of Education. She currently also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Conservatory and on the board for choirs of the Council for Culture and Art.

Rabinovich’s approach to education was formed early in her life:

I have been active in music education from the age of seventeen. As the daughter of a composer, I think that whoever receives music education, talent notwithstanding, is richer as a human being. For about six years, as long as the Tel Aviv mayor supported my project, I was able several times a year to expose six thousand children, who had never attended a concert in their lives, to the experience of chamber music. In a similar way, the memory of the devotees of chamber music in “Little Tel Aviv of the 1940s” (at the Dizengoff museum) triggered me to initiate the chamber music center at the Conservatory. Today, there is a different generation of devotees who follow many of the center’s concerts.

Her current work at the various government-supported music institutions reflects her deep passion for traditional western art music, which is now compelled to compete with a diverse assortment of other art forms and cultural styles.

Daniella Rabinovich married Chanan (b. 1937), an economist, in 1960. They have two children: Ran (b. 1962) and Uri (b. 1968).

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How to cite this page

Seter, Ronit. "Daniella Rabinovich." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/rabinovich-daniella>.