León Schidlowsky

(b. 21 July 1931, Santiago).

Israeli composer, born in Chile, of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, piano, and multimedia works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a painter.

Prof. Schidlowsky had secondary studies at the Instituto Nacional de Chile in Santiago from 1940–47 and studied piano with Roberto Duncker at the Conservatorio Nacional de Chile in Santiago from 1942–48, where he earned a diploma. He later studied composition with Adolfo Allende and Fré Focke, as well as harmony, philosophy and psychology at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago from 1948–52. He finished his studies in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold from 1952–54.

Among his honours are various prizes in Chile (1957–67), the Guggenheim Fellowship (1968), First Prize in the competition of the Hecht Foundation (1977, for Rising Night after Night) and two residencies in Berlin from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (1980–81, 1992–93). He most recently received First Prize in the 60th anniversary competition of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1996, for Absalom) and the ACUM Prize (2000, for his entire oeuvre). His music has represented Israel at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers (1971, for Babi Yar; 1978, for Dadayamasong) and the Prix Italia (1976, for Citizen 1230316).

He has participated in festivals, symposia and workshops in Argentina, Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Peru, Poland, Spain, the UK, the USA, and Venezuela. His graphic scores have been exhibited at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (1979), the Kunsthaus Hamburg (1980), the Galerie Schaller (1980), the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen (1982), and the Staatliches Museum in Saarbrücken (1995). They were also the focus of concerts in Berlin, Hamburg, Ludwigshafen, and Stuttgart from 1979–82, in Berlin from 1990–2000 and in 2006, in Saarbrücken in 1995, and in Würstburg in 1997. Exhibitions of his paintings were held at the Adlershof-Galerie in Berlin in 1993 and at the Chilean Embassy in Tel Aviv in 2002.

He is also active in other positions. He was a member of the avant-garde ensemble Agrupación Tonus in Santiago from 1955–59 and served as its director from 1959–61 and was also a member of the British Council in Santiago from 1955–59. He served as a musical advisor to the Noiswander Grupo de Pantomimes in Santiago from 1956–61 and as director of the music library at the Instituto de Extensión Musical in Santiago in 1961–62, of which he then served as director-general from 1962–66. He also served as secretary-general of the Asociación Nacional de Compositores in Santiago from 1961–63.

He taught music education at the Instituto Hebreo in Santiago from 1955–61 and taught composition as a professor at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago from 1965–68. He has taught at the Rubin Academy of Music of Tel Aviv University since 1969, where he was Professor of Composition and Music Theory from 1969–84 and has been Adjunct Full Professor since 1984. In addition, he lectured on his music at Lund University in Sweden in 1988 and 1992 and at the Institut für Neue Musik in Berlin in 1992 and on Arnold Schoenberg at the Internationale-Schönberg-Gesellschaft in Austria in 1991. He gave a masterclass in Vienna in 1995 and lectured at the Curso Internacional de Composición in Zaragoza in 1996–97.

He has lived in Israel since 1968.

He is the father of the writer David Schidlowsky and the grandfather of the pianist Rachel Schidlowsky and the violinist Semadar Schidlowsky.


E-mail address:




Die Menschen (opera in 4 acts, libretto by the composer, after Walter Hasenclever), 1969

Der Dibbuk (opera in 3 acts, libretto by the composer, after Shlomo An-Ski), 1993

Before Breakfast (opera in 1 act, libretto by the composer, after Eugene O'Neill), 1998


Requiem (text by Rainer Maria Rilke), soprano, orchestra, 1954

Oda a la tierra (text by the composer), 2 speakers, orchestra, 1958

Tríptico, 1959

La Noche de cristal (symphony, text from a traditional Jewish prayer), tenor, male chorus, orchestra, 1961

Eróstrato, 40 percussion, 1962

Amatorias (text by Vicente Huidobro), tenor, string orchestra, 1963

De profundis, soprano, alto, tenor, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, string orchestra, 1963

Invocación (text by the composer), soprano, speaker, orchestra, 1964

Nueva York, 1965

Visiones, 12 strings, 1966

Epitafio para Hermann Scherchen, 1967

Kaddish, cello, orchestra, 1967

Jeremias (text from the Bible), mixed chorus, string orchestra, 1968

Amereida, 1965–69 (its three sections may be performed separately: Llaqui [elegy, text by Javier Heraud], speaker, orchestra, 1965; Memento [text by Javier Heraud], soprano, orchestra, 1967; Ecce Homo [text by the composer], alto, orchestra, 1969)

Serenata, small orchestra, 1970

Babi Yar, piano, percussion, string orchestra, 1971

Tel Aviv, 1971

In Eius Memoriam, 1973

Monumentum (text by the composer), soprano, alto, baritone, speaker, orchestra, 1973

Akiba ben Yosef (cantata, text by Recha Freier), soprano, alto, baritone, speaker, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1974

Homenaje a Neruda (text by the composer), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1975

Rising Night after Night (cantata, text by Abba Kovner), soprano, tenor, bass, speaker, children's chorus, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1977

Trilogy, 1976–78 (its three sections may be performed separately: Prelude to a Drama, 1976; Lux in tenebris, 1977; Canticum, 1978)

Adieu (text by Arthur Penn), mezzo-soprano, small orchestra, 1982

Ode (texts from liturgical sources), mixed chorus, trombone, harp, piano, organ, harmonium, celesta, percussion, string orchestra, 1983

Laude (text from Psalm 130), mixed chorus, organ, small orchestra, 1984

Amerindia, 1982–85 (its five sections may be performed separately: Preludio, orchestra, 1982; Los Heraldos negros [text by César Vallejo], speaker, orchestra, 1983; Sacsahuamán, orchestra, 1983; Era el crepúsculo de la iguana [text by Pablo Neruda], speaker, orchestra, 1985; Yo vengo a hablar [text by Pablo Neruda], speaker, orchestra, 1983)

Balada, violin, orchestra, 1985

Exequiæ (text by David Schidlowsky), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1986

Elegy, 1988

Laudatio, 1988

Kaleidoscope, 1989

Prelude, 1990

Exhortatio, 1991

Polyphony VII, 1991

Salmos (text from the Bible [Spanish translation]), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1991

Carrera (text by Pablo Neruda), speaker, orchestra, 1993

Sealed Room, small orchestra (12 players), 1993

I will lay mine hand upon my mouth, 1994

Silvestre Revueltas (oratorio, text by Pablo Neruda), speaker, 9 mixed voices, small orchestra, 1994

Absalom, large orchestra, 1996

Dark Night, string orchestra, 1997

De profundis, string orchestra, 1997

MahnmalMemorial, 1999

The Sacrifice of Isaac I (text from the Bible [Hebrew translation]), tenor, bass, speaker, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1999

The Sacrifice of Isaac II (text from the Bible [German translation]), tenor, bass, speaker, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1999

Evocación, small orchestra, 2000

Meditaciones, small orchestra, 2000

In memoriam Jorge Peña (text by the composer), speaker, orchestra, 2001

Adagio, small orchestra, 2002

Vox clamantis in deserto, 2002

And death shall have no dominion, large orchestra, 2003

Expectra, 2003

Sunrise, 2004

Sunset, 2004

Introitus, large orchestra, 2005

Job, large orchestra, 2005

L'Inferno, large orchestra, 2005

In memoriam G. Ligeti, large orchestra, 2006

The voice of the wind, large orchestra, 2006

Constellations, 2006

Eros & Thanatos, large orchestra, 2007


Elegía, flute/clarinet, string quartet, 1952

Trío, flute, cello, piano, 1955

Cuarteto mixto, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, 1956

Concierto para seis instrumentos, clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, piano, timpani, xylophone, 1957

Cuatro Miniaturas, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 1957

In memoriam, clarinet, percussion, 1957

Isla negra, flute, 1959

Soliloquios, clarinet, harp, guitar, cello, piano, celesta, vibraphone, 2 percussion, 1961

Eclosión, 8 players, 1967

Cuarteto de cuerdas, string quartet, 1967

Hexáforos, 6 percussion, 1968

Interludio, guitar, 1968

Quinteto, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1968

Sexteto, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, xylophone, percussion, 1969

Trigon, violin, cello, piano, 1971

KolotVoices, harp, 1971

Invention, flute, piano, 1975

Images, 8 strings, 1978

Eclipse, bass clarinet, ensemble, 1983 (its cadenza may be performed separately)

Piano Quartet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1988

String Quartet, 1988

Five Pieces for Harp, harp, 1990

Shadows II, ensemble, 1990

In memoriam Luigi Nono, viola, cello, double bass, 1991

In memoriam, cello, piano, percussion, 1996

Threnos, flute, viola, percussion, 1996

Septimino, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, 1998

Seven Nocturnes, violin, piano, 1998

Three Dialogues, 2 violins, 2000

Quartet, string quartet, 2001

Secret Garden, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, harp, 2003

Tango, violin, piano, 2003

Trio, violin, viola, cello, 2003

Quartet, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2004

Partita, clarinet, 2004

Quintet, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 2004

Sextet, oboe, bassoon, cello, 3 percussion, 2004

Septet, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, 2004

Intermezzo, 4 mandolins, 2004

Inventions, oboe, clarinet, cello, 2004

Resonances, violin, cello, piano, 2005

Toccata, piano, percussion, 2005


Canciones de amor (text by Pierre Louÿs), speaker, mixed chorus, 1957

Caupolicán (epic narrative, text by Pablo Neruda), speaker, mixed chorus, 2 pianos, 6 percussion, 1958

Three Hebrew Pieces (text from the Bible), mixed chorus, 1966

Imprecasiones (text by the composer), mixed chorus, 1968

Requiem for Choir a Cappella, mixed chorus, 1968

Eli, Eli, lama azavtnai (text from the Bible), 12 mixed voices, 1970

Nacht (text by the composer), mixed chorus, 1979

Missa in Nomine Bach (text from the Mass), mixed chorus, 8 players, 1984

Bereshit (text from the Bible), children's chorus, 1985

An den Knaben Elis (text by Georg Trakl), mixed chorus, 3 percussion, 1992

Laudate, mixed chorus, 1995

Three psalms and a prayer (text from the Bible), mixed chorus, 2004

Libera me Domini (text from the Mass), mixed chorus, 2004


Drei Liebeslieder (text by Georg Trakl), voice, piano, 1953

Zwei Lieder vom Tode, voice, piano, 1954

Epitafio a Vicente Huidobro (text by Vicente Huidobro), soprano, flute, vibraphone, xylophone, percussion, 1955

Tres Poemas (texts by Federico García Lorca, Vicente Huidobro), voice, piano, 1955

Cantata negra (text by Blaise Cendrars), tenor, piano, 6 percussion, 1958

Dos Salmos (text by Georg Trakl), alto, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, cello, 1962

Zwei Lieder (text by Georg Trakl), tenor, harp, celesta, vibraphone, percussion, 1962

Zwei Lieder (text by Georg Trakl), tenor, piano, 1962

Tres Canciones de amor, tenor, piano, 1963

Tres Versos del capitán (text by Pablo Neruda), tenor, 6 percussion, 1966

Estudiante baleado (text by Fernando Rojas), voice, piano, 1967

Lyrik (text by Else Lasker-Schüler), soprano, 5 percussion, 1969

Grabstein für Else Lasker-Schüler (text by Else Lasker-Schüler), countertenor, 5 percussion, 1998

Lamento (text by Heinrich Heine), countertenor, ensemble, 1998

Si muero (text by Federico García Lorca), speaker, flute, harp, organ, 1998

The Song of Sorrow (text by Giuseppe Ungaretti), soprano, French horn, harp, cello, 2002

Two songs (text by Dylan Thomas), soprano, clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello, piano, 2005

Two songs (texts by William Blake, Walter Savage Landor), voice, clarinet, violin, cello, 2006


Seis Miniaturas, 1952

Tres Trozos, 1952

Ocho Estructuras, 1955

Cinco Piezas, 1956

Actus, 1972

Trilogy, 2 pianos, 1990

Toccata, 1991


Christus im Holocaust, 2001


Nacimiento, fixed media, 1956

Citizen 1230316, fixed media, 1976


Dulce patria, 1959 (Fernando Balmaceda; collaboration with Fernando García) (lost)

La Ciencia universitaria y la industria, 1959 (Juan Morales; collaboration with Fernando García) (lost)


Constellation I, any player, 1969

Arcanos, percussion, 1971

Constellation II, string orchestra, 1971

Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast Du mich verlassen (text from the Bible [German translation]), 3 sopranos, 3 altos, 3 tenors, 3 basses, 1971

MeshulashTriangle, violin, viola, cello, 1971

Acting, orchestra, 1972

Actions for Piano, piano, 1972

An Anna Blume (text by Kurt Schwitters), soprano, alto, baritone, 1972

He engraves signs into the heavenly sphere (text by Gershom Scholem), voice, percussion, 1972

Hommage to Picasso (text by Gertrude Stein), voice, 1972

Verrà la morte (monodrama, text by Cesare Pavese), voice, percussion, 1972

Ballade (text from a source in Tamil), voice, clàrsach (harp from the UK), 1973

Documenta 73, 1973 (its three sections may be performed separately: Signals, 2 pianos; De profundis [text by Carlos de Rokha], voice, tubular bells; Momentum [text from an anonymous source], voice, piano, organ, celesta, 3 percussion)

Tetralog, 1972–74 (its four sections may be performed separately: Music for Piano and Winds, piano, winds; Music for Piano and Strings, piano, strings; Music for Piano and Percussion, piano, percussion; Music for Piano and Voice, voice, piano)

Eleven Tombstones (texts by Bertolt Brecht, Dylan Thomas, anonymous sources, the Bible), alto, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, percussion, fixed media, 1974

Ritual, percussion, 1974

Dadayamasong (text by Franz Mehring), soprano, any saxophone, piano, percussion, 1975

Three Structures and One Scene (texts from Kabala sources, Gertrude Stein, Kurt Schwitters), mixed chorus, percussion, fixed media, 1975

Aria (text by Ethel Rosenberg), voice, 1976

Chanson (text by Paul Éluard), voice, tam-tam, 1976

Golem (text by the composer), 7 mixed voices, fixed media, 1976

Schatten, 7 violins, 7 cellos, 7 double basses, 7 tubular bells (+ 7 gongs) (1 player), 1976

Annabel Lee (text by Edgar Allan Poe), any voice, fixed media, 1977

Missa Sine Nomine, 1977 (its eleven sections may be performed separately: Bereschít bará elohím et haschamáim weét haáretz [text from the Bible], 2 mixed choruses, percussion, slide projections; Kyrie eleison, mixed chorus, slide projections; Lied [text by George Grosz], speaker, organ, slide projections; Gloria, mixed chorus, 4 gongs [1 player], slide projections; Chile [text by the composer], 20 mixed voices, slide projections; Credo, speaker, mixed chorus, organ, 4 bass drums [1 player], slide projections; Benedictus, 36 mixed voices, 4 suspended cymbals [1 player], slide projections; Ich komme [text by Vladimir Mayakovsky], 36 mixed voices, slide projections; Dona nobis pacem, mixed chorus, slide projections; Babel [text from the Bible], 6 sopranos, 6 altos, 4 tenors, 4 basses, slide projections; Epilog [text from the Bible], speaker, 2 mixed choruses, organ, 4 percussion, slide projections)

Sound Poem (text by Hugo Ball), alto, piano, 1977

Trilogy (texts by Paul Éluard, Franz Mehring), tenor, percussion, ensemble, 1977

Palindrom (vocalise), female chorus, 1979

Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen, soloist, speaker, mixed chorus, piano, percussion ensemble, 1979

Der Schwarze Gott (text by Klabund), female chorus, flute, harp, organ, 1980

Gilgul, piano, 1980

Toccata, percussion, 1983

A man between stones, 4 stones (+ percussion) (1 player), 1987

Five Graphic Works, 1985–90 (its sections may be performed separately: Prelude [vocalise], mixed chorus, piano, organ, harpsichord, celesta; Für Klavier, piano; Motu propio, mixed chorus, percussion; Voices [vocalise], mixed chorus; Choral [text from the Bible], mixed chorus, piano, organ, harpsichord, celesta, percussion)

Am Grabs Kafka (text by Franz Kafka), female voice (+ crotales), slide projections, 1997

Greise sind die Sterne gewordeneine moderne Passion (texts by Heinrich Heine, Georg Trakl, Else Lasker-Schüler, Mascha Kaléko, Erich Fried, M. Gaztrum, Novalis, the Bible), soprano, alto, baritone, speaker, mixed chorus, piano, organ, harpsichord, celesta, 3 percussion, 1997