Michael Wolpe (born 1960) is an Israeli composer, teacher, and conductor.


Michael Wolpe was born in Tel Aviv in 1960, and studied in the Pardes Hana Agricultural Highschool. He did his regular army service first as a paratrooper and later in the education corps. He studied composition in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and in Cambridge University in England. He earned a PhD in Music, writing about "British Symphony the mid-20th century" under the direction of Yehoash Hirshberg of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Among his teacher were Tzvi Avni, Haim Alexander, Mark Kopytman and Alexander Goehr. One of Israel's foremost music educators, Michael Wolpe teaches at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where he serves as the head of the composition and conducting departments. Wolpe was the founder of the music track in the renowned Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem, and taught there alongside composer Andre Hajdu. Between 2005-2011 he also served as the artistic director of the Days of Israeli Music Festival.

Michael Wolpe joined Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev twenty years ago. He has dedicated himself to comprehensive musical activity in the region. Among other projects, he founded the "Sounds in the Desert" festival held in Ramat Hanegev. This music festival, held annually in Hanukkah, is dedicated to original Israeli music.

Wolpe's work is significantly influenced by formative experiences that are part of the Israeli culture. Active military reserve duty including fighting in the first Lebanon War and his love to Hebrew songs. This influence is expressed in a humanistic outlook which aims to bring all parts of Israeli society closer and in many art projects commemorating past Israeli artists and in pushing forward current artists and performers. An additional influence is the death of his mother when he was 14, and in whose memory he composed a Stabat Mater. Especially notable are the pieces he wrote for the Caprizma ensemble from Jerusalem, which he co-founded with guitarist Hanan Feinsein and viola player Gadi Abbadi. Wolpe composed nine extensive pieces for the ensemble ("Caprizma" no. 1-9), three song cycles and additional pieces. The latest piece written for the Caprizma group is "The Twelve Months[Moons]) for thirteen players, which describes the Hebrew Calendar. Additionally he wrote many pieces for recorder and for the recorder player Drora Bruck.

Wolpe is a prolific composer and a well known conductor. His work encompasses a wide variety of genres : symphonic, chamber, vocal and dramatic. One tendency that stands out in his work is the inspiration from the Hebrew religious texts and from the contemporary Israeli poetry. Wolpe conducted several choirs and the Kibbutz orchestra for a number of years. His music is performed in important venues worldwide. Many of his works were recorded and are broadcast in Kol HaMusica and sold on CDs.

Wolpe has received several awards including the ACUM lifetime achievement award for music on March 2009, the Composers Union Award, and the Prime Minister's award for Composers[1] award twice, in 1997 and 2013.[1]

Wolpe is related to the composer Stefan Wolpe, a cousin of his grandfather and grandmother.[2]

Selected works

  • Songs about the Land, a cycle of symphonic poems
  • In Memory of Ben Haim, a four movement piece, based on the estate of the composer Paul Ben Haim, and is dedicated to his memory.
  • The "Oud" trio, a three movement piece for three Oud players
  • Epigrams, epigrams to lyrics written by poets of the golden age of Spanish Jewry. Sequences of short poems, epigrams to the poems of Shlomo Ibn Gvirol, Moshe Ibn Ezra, Shmuel Hanagid, Yehuda Halevi, and others.
  • Memories of the Seven Days, a piece for a large group of violins and piano, in memory of the composer Abel Ehrlich
  • Five Ways of Love, a song cycle, a short opera and more, to the lyrics of the poem Eli Alon.


  • Stabat Mater, performed by the Latvia Radio Choir, the CD also includes a recorded concerto and a piece for orchestra,[3] 1996.
  • Caprizma no. 8 for a chamber ensemble, soloist: Julius Berger,[4] 1998
  • Piano Trios (no. 1-3), performed by the Inbar trio, Jerusalem Artists series, 1998.


  • Michael Wolpe, "Composers who Immigrated from Germany: Between traditionalism and modernism", published in "between the home lands", about the contribution of immigrant from Germany
  • Michael Wolpe, "Minibiography" of Tzvi Avi, Israeli Institute of Music, 2007
  • Michael Wolpe, "The Music of Moshe Willensky", National Book House publications
  • Michael Wolpe, "Musicians of Various Styles in the Academy of Music" from Eli Lion's blog, Sept. 2, 2010.

External links


  1. ^ מרב יודילוביץ', נבחרו הזוכים בפרס היצירה לקומפוזיטורים, באתר ynet‏, 25 באוגוסט 2013
  2. ^ According to Michael Wolpe (Correspondence from June 15, 2012): "Stefan Wolpe was a cousin of my paternal grandfather and grandmother, who were themselves cousins, that is, my grandmother was a cousin of both of them and married one of them.
  3. ^ Stabat Mater - Wolpe
  4. ^ "Michael Wolpe: Kaprizma No. 8". AllMusic.