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Menachem Zur collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MP-0002-01


Menachem Zur (born 1942) is an Israeli composer who studied at Mannes College of Music (now, Mannes School of Music), and Columbia University. His compositions are influenced by modernism, post-tonal music, and set theory, as well as traditional Jewish music. The collection includes various chamber music scores by Zur, mostly in photocopy form, as well as a recording of several of his compositions.


  • 1972-2005



0.4 Cubic Feet (14 folders)

0.769 Gigabytes (10 AIFF files migrated from 1 compact disc)

Language of Materials



Scope and Content of Collection

This collection primarily contains music scores composed by Israeli experimental music composer Menachem Zur (1942-). Most scores are photocopies of both published and unpublished works, which are mostly unannotated, many of which are titled in both English and Hebrew. A published original of Zur’s Quartet for Flute and Strings (1980) is included. The Israel Music Center and the Israel Music Institute are identified as publishers of several of the works in the collection. The collection also includes one non-commercial compact disc recording of several of the pieces in the collection, performed by various listed artists.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Digital recorded sound files in this collection may be accessed onsite at The New School Archives. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from The New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Menachem Zur (born 1942, Tel-Aviv, Israel) is an Israeli composer and teacher. He attended the College of Music Teachers in Tel-Aviv, graduating in 1964, and studied music theory at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance until 1967. He continued his studies at Mannes College of Music in New York City, receiving his bachelor of music degree in 1971. As a composition major at Mannes, Zur studied under American composer William Jay Sydeman (1928-) and studied music theory and Schenkerian analysis under Carl Schachter (1932-). While a student at Mannes, Zur also composed music for an Off-Broadway musical adaptation of satirist Ephraim Kishon’s book Unfair to Goliath in 1970. Zur received a master of fine arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1972 and a doctor of musical arts degree from Columbia University in 1976.

Zur has listed his main compositional influences as Johannes Brahms, Alban Berg, and Italian composer of experimental and electronic music Luciano Berio. Zur developed his approach to electronic music while completing his doctoral studies under Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University, and one of Zur’s earliest published compositions is his 1972 Cantata for Choir, Magnetic Tape, Percussion and Brass Quartet. Many of Zur’s compositions are chamber works in modern, post-tonal style, and his sound organization employs mathematical set theory as well as ideas derived from Schenkerian analysis. Certain works by Zur also show the influence of traditional Jewish music, such as The Golem, a chamber work commissioned by The Jewish Museum in New York City in 1989, which combines tonal and atonal musical concepts. Zur has also composed larger works, including two operas, Neighbors (1986) and The Last Night (2014) and six symphonies, the second of which, entitled Letters (1988-1994) is comprised of movements dedicated to the three major modernist composers: Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky and Berg, each written in that particular composer’s characteristic style. Zur also developed a unique genre of composition which he entitled Discussions, which uses a form of musical dialogue between different instruments.

Zur has taught at Queens College, City University of New York; New York University; and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (1976-2011, Professor Emeritus as of 2011), and was director of the Electroacoustic Music Studio at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of the Electronic Music Studio of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. He has also served as chair of the Israel League of Composers (1992-1994, 2000-2003) and represented Israel in the International Society for Contemporary Music (1992-1996). Among Zur’s awards are the Israeli Prime Minister’s Prize (2001 and 2010), a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel (ACUM, 2001), a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition (1981) and an International Society for Contemporary Music Competition award (1975).


Gluck, Robert J. “Fifty Years of Electronic Music in Israel.” Organised Sound 10, no. 2 (August 2005): 163-180.

Goldenberg, Yossi. "Zur, Menachem." In Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., edited by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, 688. Vol. 21. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007, Gale eBooks. Accessed February 22, 2021.

Isaacson, Emily Sarah. “Musical Perspectives on the Binding of Isaac Story in the 20th Century: Aharon Harlap and Menachem Zur’s Akedat Ytzchak and Steve Reich’s The Cave.” DMA diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015.

Kozinn, Allan. “The Mystical Golem as Subject of a Concert.” The New York Times, March 19, 1989.

“A Little Show Biz.” Notes from Mannes 3, no. 2 (May 1970): 8.

“Meet the Alumni: Menachem Zur.” Mannes News 12, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 11.

“Menachem Zur.” ArtPro Artists Management. Accessed February 21, 2021.

Schleifer, Eliyahu. “Zur, Menachem.” In Grove Music Online. Accessed February 22, 2021.

Organization and Arrangement

Files are arranged alphabetically by composition title.

Custodial History

Donated to Mannes College of Music by Menachem Zur, 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from Harry Scherman Library of the Mannes School of Music to The New School Archives and Special Collections, 2015.

  • AIFF (Type of Material) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Atonality (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Chamber music -- 20th century (Subject) (Temporal) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Compact discs (Type of Material) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Modernism (Music) (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Piano music (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Piano music (Pianos (2)) (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Scores (Type of Material) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Set theory (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Sonatas (Piano) (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Guide to the Menachem Zur collection
Jason Adamo
January 6, 2023
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