Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)

Ernest Bloch was born in Geneva. His father was a clock maker and merchant. Bloch studied composition and music, first in his hometown and later in Belgium, Germany and France. He first wrote works with no particular Jewish connection. Later, in 1913, he bagan writing works on Jewish themes, and by 1916 had written the orchestral works "Trois Poemes Juifs, the "Israel Symphony", and "Schelomo"- a rhapsody for cello and orchestra.
In 1916 he emigrated to the United States where he directed music conservatories in Cleveland and San Francisco. In the 1920's he composed his famous work "Baal Shem" for violin and piano and in the 1930's his major creation "Avodat Hakodesh" (Sacred Service) for cantor, choir and orchestra. On his works with Jewish themes he said, "I am Jewish and strive to write Jewish music...this does not mean I have to use Jewish folktunes...but I have an authentic Jewish feeling inside of me. This feeling is, of course, buried at the root of all my serious music, and serves as a faithful expression both of the Jewish people as a whole, and of the individual Jew".

Biography written by Dr. Avner Bahat and taken from the brochure of the Philatelic Division of the Israel Postal Authority without permission (sorry).