New York Composer Sole American Winner in International Music Competition

Morris Cotel, New York composer and pianist, was the only American winner among the eight winners in a recent international music competition on “Holocaust and Rebirth” commemorating Israel’s 30th anniversary. He was honored for “The Fire and Mountains,” a composition scored for adult chorus, children’s chorus, three soloists and a percussionist. It is based on a poem by the contemporary Israeli writer Israel Eliraz.

The competition was sponsored by the Reuben and Edith Hecht Fund at the Haifa University in Israel for music on the theme of the 30th anniversary, based on works by three Hebrew poets: Uri Zvi Greenberg (“Holy of Holies”), Aba Kovner (“Rising Night After Night”) and Eliraz.

Sixty four scores were submitted, of which two had to be disqualified for not meeting the competition conditions. Entries came from the U.S.,Canada, Mexico, South America, Israel, Japan, Hungary, Italy, France, Germany, England, Ireland and the Scandinavian countries. Five of the winners were from Israel, one from Italy, one from Mexico and Cotel. The jury in the music competition included Zubin Mehta, Antal Dorati, Juan Pablo Izquierdo, Gary Bertini, Mendi Rodan, Nathan Mishori and Gideon Rosengarten.

Cotel won the Prix de Rome in 1966 and won second prize in the International Arnold Schoenberg Piano Competition in Rotterdam in 1975. After 1968 he resided in Israel and in 1976 was asked to found the Baltimore Artists’ Task Force for Soviet Jewry. He is a recipient of a recent National Endowment for Arts fellowship, several ASCAP awards, is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and is a member of the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

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