Asher Ben-Yohanan

(b. 22 May 1929, Kavala – d. 3 August 2015, Tel Aviv-Yafo).

Israeli composer, born in Greece, of mostly orchestral and chamber works that have been performed in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

Prof. Ben-Yohanan studied oboe and piano in Tel Aviv-Yafo. He studied composition privately with Paul Ben-Haim from 1949–53 and musicology with Jan LaRue and Gustave Reese at New York University from 1958–61. He later studied composition privately with Luigi Nono in Venice in 1966 and with Leslie Bassett and Ross Lee Finney at the University of Michigan, where he earned his MMus in 1970. In addition, he studied with Aaron Copland at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts in 1958, on a scholarship, and attended the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 1966.

Among his honours was the Morse Fellowship in Composition from the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music (1970–71). He received commissions from the Israel Composers Fund, the Israel Festival, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and other festivals, institutions and organisations.

He was also active in other positions. As a writer, he wrote articles on music, as well as the books Music in Israel – A Short Survey (1975, Telma Yellin Music and Arts School) and Music Notation (1983, Bar-Ilan University). He also served as chair of the Israeli Composers League from 1989–92 and of the committee for the annual granting to composers of the Award of the Israeli Prime Minister from 1989–93.

He taught music literature and music theory at the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv-Yafo from 1962–69. He then taught music literature and music theory at the Telma Yellin Music and Arts School in Tel Aviv-Yafo from 1964–87, where he also served as chair of the department of music from 1966–76. He taught as Professor of Music at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan from 1973–96.

He lived in Israel from 1935–2015.

His publishers are the Israel Music Institute and Israeli Music Publications.





Independence Day Parade (march), military band, 1956

Festive Overture, 1957

Two Movements for Orchestra, 1959

Music for Orchestra 1967, 1967

Concertino for String Orchestra, string orchestra, 1973

Variations, 1980, revised 1989

Meditations, 1992


String Quartet, 1962–64

Chamber Music for Six, flute, clarinet, French horn, violin, viola, double bass, 1968

Quartetto Concertato, clarinet, trombone, cello, piano, 1969–70

Meditations on a Folksong, flute, clarinet, piano, 1972

Soliloquy, violin, 1977

Three Pieces for Three Woodwinds, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 1978

Desert Winds, flute, 1979

Episode, trombone, 1984

Woodwind Quintet, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1985

Delineation, cello, 1986

Divertimento, French horn, trumpet, trombone, 1988–89

Hidden Feelings, harp, 1990


Ode to Jerusalem (text from the Bible), mixed chorus, 1954

O Fair Sight (text by Judah Halevi), mixed chorus, 1984


Mosaic (text by e. e. cummings), soprano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, viola, cello, double bass, 2 percussion, 1970–71

Four Summer Songs (text by T. Carmi), baritone, piano, 1974

Three Songs without Titles (text by Ya'ara Ben-David), soprano, piano, 1983


Prelude and Toccata, 1960

Impressions, 1976


Three Piano Pieces for Beginners, piano, 1981