Israeli Conductor Dalia Atlas on Bloch

Ernest Bloch was one of the most interesting, inventive and successful composers, recognised and appreciated during his lifetime as a successor to Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. While these three giants developed and established their own definite style within their own respective historical period, Bloch was unique. He was a wanderer and explorer, caring nothing for the fashions of the time. He possessed the supreme qualities of a great creator in each of the varied styles in which he wrote throughout his whole life.

Music was Bloch’s most authentic language for the expression of his individuality, ideas, philosophy, profound intellect, truthfulness and ethnicity, all perfectly balanced. At the same time he carried within himself and passed on his feelings of Weltschmertz, love and hope.

For several years during World War II he wrote nothing, but found his salvation in J.S. Bach. In his later compositions he returned to modality and polyphony, whether modern or conventional. After his death, Bloch became internationally famous, but known to the new generation only for several compositions in his Jewish style. It is baffling, almost fifty years after his death, that most of his works should have remained hidden from the present-day generation. The challenge now for performers and listeners is to understand Bloch’s multiple styles, and the secret of its correct interpretation.

— Dalia Atlas

Dalia Atlas was born in Israel, graduated from the Music Academy of Jerusalem, and studied conducting with the most distinguished teachers abroad. She won seven prizes in international conducting competitions, the first woman conductor to achieve this. Her wide repertoire includes about 750 scores, among them hitherto unknown music, some of which are her own discoveries, and also arrangements of her own.

She has conducted some seventy orchestras in concerts, festivals and recordings, and broadcasts in 29 countries, among them the Israel Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia in London, Helsinki Philharmonic, ABC orchestras in Australia, Warsaw Symphony, Brazil Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Maggio Musicale in Florence, the Slovak Philharmonic and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Orchestra, and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. In Israel she has founded many musical and cultural organizations, orchestras and choirs, both professional and educational, serving as Music Director and Principal Conductor for many years.

In pursuit of her philanthropic ideals, Dalia Atlas has travelled widely with her orchestras, the Israel Pro Musica and Atlas Camerata, at her own expense, in order to promote music education for children in schools and concert halls. Her research on the music of Ernest Bloch resulted in her undertaking the promotion and recording of the composer’s neglected compositions. To date, she has recorded about 20 of his orchestral works for ASV and Naxos.

In 2005 Dalia Atlas decided to terminate all her permanent positions in order to share her wide repertoire and experience as a guest conductor all over the world with orchestras, operas and festivals.