Milch-Sheriff, Ella

Nee Ella Milch. Born 1954 In Haifa, Israel. Composer. Singer, pianist. Milch-Sheriff started as a child prodigy, writing her first compositions by the age of 12. While serving in the Israeli army, she continued to write and sing her songs. After army service, she returned to studies in composition under Prof. Tzvi Avni at the Rubin Academy of Music at the Tel-Aviv University where she graudated in composition. She studied vocal studies with Prof. Tamar Rachum and Dafna Cohen-Licht. Her output consists of opera, orchestral, chamber and vocal and popular music. Her works have had numerous performances in Israel and abroad. She is composer of chamber works such as: Duo for flute & Cello (1976) with recent pieces that include “A Crown they shall give unto You” for voice and orchestra based on Ladino-Flamenco folk music (premiered January 2005); “Woman in Paths” for voice and piano (premiered 2005); and “Good Night, Sweet ladies” for 3 singers, actress and orchestra (premiered 2004). Her piece “Poem” for voice and chamber ensemble represented Israel at the ISCM festival in Germany and had numerous performances in Israel and Europe. Her composition “Variations on an Israeli song” was premiered by the Israel Chamber Orchestra and then was played by many other chamber orchestras. Her piece for children’s choir, “A China Ballade” (to poem by Lea Goldberg) sung by the Choir of Ashkelon Art School, won the first prize in an international competition. In March 2003, her piece “Can Heaven be Void for Singer, Narrator, and Orchestra” was premiered in Israel and won an unprecedented acclaim from critics. The piece is based on texts from a diary written by the composer’s father during the Holocaust…Maariv, an Israeli newspaper, wrote of it (March 30, 2003), “Similar as in Schönberg’s work “The Survivor of Warsaw”, Mrs. Sheriff also immortalizes the horrors and the pain with a hand of a master,….The music is written with great sincerity and clarity. It conjures up spiritual sounds, and, as in Schubert’s songs, it is supportive of the background, the essence and the interpretation.” Yediot Acharonot, another paper, included a review (30/3/03) that said: “The music is built upon fragments of the terrible Holocaust memoirs of Dr. Baruch Milch, the father of the composer. Its impact derives from its simplicity, from its asceticism. Mrs. Sheriff does not whine nor does she scream out. Quite to the contrary. That is why it is so powerful.” The Ha’aretz reviewer stated (26/3/03) “Regarding the cantata itself, its impact is way beyond all expectations.” Mrs. Milch-Sheriff gave a Kurt Weill recital on the Weill 100th birthday at the Israel festival in Jerusalem, which brought invitations from Germany and Austria. She has held principal roles in chamber operas, including new Israeli works, and a role as the Medium in the opera of the same name by Menotti. In the last few years she appeared in recitals in Germany, Switzerland and Israel with programs which includes works by great composers from Mahler to Bernstein as well as songs composed to the poets Paul Celan, Else Lasker-Schuler and Heinrich Heine. She is married to the composer Noam Sheriff who has composed a number of works especially for her. She sang the Paul Celan song cycle at the Dartington International summer school festival. A CD which was recently released on the ‘col legno’ label and conducted by Noam Sheriff with the Duesseldorf Symphony Orchestra, includes the Paul Celan song cycle sung by Ella.