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Dov Seltzer

Born in Romania, Seltzer began studying music at an early age. He studied theory and harmony with Professors Alfred Mendelssohn and Michael Jora.

When Seltzer immigrated to Israel at 15, a musical comedy he had written continued to be played for two more years, performed by one of Bucharest’s professional Youth Theatres.

Seltzer finished his high school studies in Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek in Israel. At the recommendation of the renowned pianist and teacher Frank Peleg, Seltzer was awarded a scholarship to continue his musical studies at the Haifa Conservatory and later in Tel-Aviv.
At 18 he joined the Israeli army and was among the founders and the first official composer of the “Nachal Musical Theatre Group” (“Lehakat Hanachal”). The songs he wrote for the Nachal group, and the hundreds he wrote later on, are considered cornerstones of Israeli folk and popular music and are standard repertory on radio and TV worldwide.

During his military service, Seltzer received a special grant from the army to pursue studies in composition, harmony and counterpoint with composers Herbert Bruen, Mordechai Seter and Professor Abel Erlich.
Following his military service, he studied in the United States at the Mannes College of Music, receiving a diploma in composition, and then at New-York State University, where he earned a B.S. in music, majoring in conducting and composition. Among his teachers were Dr. Felix Salzer (Theory and Analysis), Carl Bamberger (Conducting), Roy Travis, Noah Sokolof and Robert Starer (Composition and Theory).

Upon his return to Israel, Dov Seltzer embarked on a continually active musical career, writing in particular for the musical theater (he has written 15 musical comedies and light operas which have been performed in Israel and abroad).
He has also written the music scores for more than 40 full-length feature films, among them Israeli, American, Italian, German and French productions.

Seltzer has to his credit several symphonic works commissioned and performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted both orchestras in concerts of his own works – the first Israeli composer to be thus recognized and honored.
His works were performed by all the major Israeli orchestras as well as by the New York Philharmonic, the Queens Symphony and the British Chamber Orchestra. His works were conducted and played by artists such as Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Yehudi Menuhin and Yitzhak Perlman.

Dov Seltzer has twice received the Kinor David (Israel’s “Oscar”) as well as having been presented the Judges’ Award by the Israel Composers’ Association (ACUM) for Life Achievements. He has also earned numerous other awards during the course of his career .In 2009 he was awarded the ISRAEL PRIZE for life time achievements and contribution to the Israeli Music.

Selected Works

Symphonic Works

“Stempeniu” – a dramatic poem based on the novel by Shalom Aleichem. The work is for actor/narrator, solo violin and symphony orchestra. It was commissioned and given its premiere performance by Maestro Zubin Mehta with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. (Repeat performances by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Ra’anana Symphonette).

“Rhapsodie Hassidique” for violin and enlarged chamber orchestra, was commissioned and performed by Sir Yehudi Menuhin in London with the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the composer. (Repeat performances by the Ra’anana Symphonette and the Philharmonic of Europe – Michael Guttman playing the solo part).

“This Scroll” – an ode to Israel’s Scroll of Independence, written for baritone solo, mixed choir and symphony orchestra. The work was composed in honour of the 100th anniversary to the birth of David Ben-Gurion. World premiere by the Haifa Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stanley Sperber, solo baritone – Yehoram Gaon. (Repeat performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Queens Symphony and the Beer-Sheva Sinfonietta).

“The Gold of the Ashes” – a symphonic poem with solo mezzo-soprano, children’s choir and symphony orchestra, was composed for the 500 year’s commemoration of the Jews’ expulsion from Spain. The work was given a world premiere by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.

“The Poetry and Prophecy of the Bible” – a symphonic suite with narrators reading texts from the Bible, including: “The Creation”, “The Expulsion from Paradise”, “By the Rivers of Babylon”, “The Vision of Isa’ya”, “Song of Songs” (Record featuring Theodore Bikel as narrator, the Vienna Symphony and Dov Seltzer conducting).

“Tradition” – 9 old Jewish songs, arranged for violin and symphony orchestra. CD featuring Yitzhak Perlman and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer. Live performance by the IPO conducted by Zubin Mehta.

“Lament for Yitzhak” – a Requiem in memory of Yitzhak Rabin was premiered in April 1998 by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with the New Israeli Opera Choir, the Ankor Children’s Choir and four soloists under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta, at the Mann Auditorium in Tel-Aviv, as the festive opening of Israel’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Repeat performance by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Maestro Kurt Masur at Avery Fisher Hall – 1999 Lincoln Center Festival.


“Esmeralda” – based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Libretto by the French writer Jacques Rampal.

Musicals (Selections out of 20)

“The Megilah” – Musical based on a poetical libretto (in Yiddish) by the famous poet Yitzik Manger, after the original run (450 performances) had 5 additional theater productions, one of them on Broadway and 3 film versions.

“Kazablan” – the most successful original musical in the history of Israeli Theater. Also a film version (title song nominated for the Golden Globe).

“I Like Mike” – Musical produced at the Alhambra Theater in Tel-Aviv (one year run).

“To Live Another Summer” – at the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway.

“Comme la neige en été” – at Theatre des Varietes in Paris.

“Ootz Li Gootz Li” (“Rumpelstilskin”) – Musical for children (more than 1,500 performances in 8 different productions for more than 30 years).

“Choumesh Lider” (“Songs of the Bible”) – Musical (in Hebrew and Yiddish) based on a poetic cycle by Yitzik Manger (four different productions).

Film Scores (selection out of 45)

“Entebbe: Operation Thunderbolt” – a Golan/Globus Production (Action Military).

“The Assisi Underground” – Starring Ben Cross, Maximilian Schell. Italian Production film + TV Miniseries (World War II Drama).

“The Ambassador” – A Lee J. Thompson film, starring Robert Mitchum and Rock Hudson (Drama).

“Buba” – First Prize Rio Film Festival (1987) (Thriller).

“Moses the Law Giver” – Starring Burt Lancaster. 7 hour TV series and movie version (R.A.I. TV/Italy. ITV/London).

“Kazablan” – Musical film based on the original stage success (1967). Distributed worldwide by M.G.M. (Main song nominated for the Golden Globe).

“I Love You Rosa” – A Moshe Mizrachi film nominated for Oscar in the category of the best foreign film.

“Ramat Aviv Gimel” – Music and title song for the longest running Israeli TV series.

Songs (short selection out of more than 800)

“Daber Elay Bifrachim” (“Talk To Me With Flowers”)
“Naara U’shma Kineret” (“A Girl Called Kineret”)
“Yesh Makom” (“There Is a Place”)
“Kol Hakavod” (“All the Honours”)
“Rosa Rosa”
“Lo Nafsik Lashir” (“Go On Singing”)
“Le Hayey Ha’am Haze” (“Long Live This People”)
“Hamilhama Ha’achrona” (“The Last War”)
“Hora He’achzut”
“Hineni Kan”(“Here I am”)

Awards and Prizes

1967 - The musical “Ootz Li Gootz Li”, music by Dov Seltzer, received the Prize of the City of Tel-Aviv as the Best Musical Play of the Year.

1968 – Dov Seltzer was awarded the “Kinor David” (Harp of David), the Israeli “Oscar”, as the Best Screen and Theater Composer of the Year.

1969 – The stage version of the musical “Kazablan”, music by Dov Seltzer, received the Prize of the City of Tel-Aviv as the Best Musical Play of the Year.

1970 – Dov Seltzer was awarded the “Kinor David” as the Best Screen and Theater Composer of the Year.

1971 – The film “Yadaim” (“Hands”), music by Dov Seltzer, was awarded the Prize of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as Best Documentary Film and Best Score for a Documentary Film.

1973 – The film “I Love You, Rosa” by Moshe Mizrachi, music by Dov Seltzer, was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Film. The film also represented Israel at the Cannes Film Festival and the score was cited by the judges.

1974 – The main song of the musical “Kazablan” (film version) was nominated for the Golden Globe Award.

1983 – Dov Seltzer received the Prize of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for Best Music Score for the film “Hamegilah 83”.

1985 – Dov Seltzer received the Yitzik Manger Prize for contribution to Jewish and Yiddish Music and Culture.

1985 – Dov Seltzer received the Jury Award of the Israel Composers and Authors Society (ACUM) for Lifetime Achievement in Music.

1989 – Dov Seltzer received the Sholom Aleichem House Award for Contribution and Creativity in the Realm of Jewish Culture.

1997 – Dov Seltzer received a special award from the Israeli Academy for Motion Pictures for Lifetime Achievements in Music for Films.

2000 - Dov Seltzer received the Prime Minister Prize for Israeli composers for his work “Lament to Yitzhak”.

2000 – Dov Seltzer received the Lerner Prize for Lifetime Achievements and Contribution to Yiddish Cultural Life.

2006 - Dov Selzer received the Prize of The Minister of Culture, Science and Sport for Lifetime Activity in the field of Israeli Song and Music.

2009 - Dov Seltzer received the ISRAEL PRIZE for his Lifetime contribution to the different genders of Israeli music from Songs, through Musicals, Film scores and Symphonic music.