Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fred Onovwerosuoke: New York Times: Halim El-Dabh, Composer of Martha Graham Ballets, Dies at 96

Halim El-Dabh in an undated photograph. Credit Bob Christy/Kent State University (New York Times)
Composer Fred Onovwerosuoke brings this obituary to our attention:
The New York Times
Mr. El-Dabh, who composed hundreds of pieces, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music and vocal works, was also known for compositions that combined Western instruments with Eastern ones, notably the darbuka, a goblet-shaped drum on which he was a skilled performer.
He was also in the vanguard of electronic composition, creating pieces in that medium as early as the 1940s.
Writing about Mr. El-Dabh in 1975, The Washington Post called him “a modern composer of stature and accomplishment.”
Mr. El-Dabh’s most famous composition is almost certainly the score for “Clytemnestra,” one of four ballets for which Ms. Graham commissioned him. The only full-evening-length dance she choreographed, it is widely considered her masterwork, spanning more than two hours and reworking the mythic Greek tragedy of murder and retribution.

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