Welcome to the
Website of Avner Bahat
Avner Bahat was born in Tel Aviv in 1932. He studied musicology and Hebrew Literature at the universities of Tel Aviv, Haifa and the Sorbonne in Paris, where he learned also French medieval secular music and ethnomusicology. His doctoral thesis deals with "The East-West Encounter in Israeli Music 1939-1973".
In 1967-1981 he lectured at the Rubin Music Academy and the Musicology Department of Tel Aviv University and in 1981 he founded the Feher Jewish Music Center at Beth Hatefutsoth, the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, where he established a collection of thousands of recordings of Jewish music with a computerized catalogue enabling to get access to every song, work, composer, poet, tradition, singer and performer and find texts, biographies and other materials which deepen the listening experience. He also organized there lectures and concerts.
The Feher Jewish Music Center produced some twenty audio CDs featuring various Jewish musical traditions − among them of Morocco, Danzig, Yemen, Koenigsberg, Spain, St. Petersburg, , Caucasus, Italy, Terezin, and Hassidic − and works by Jewish and Israeli composers.
In 1976 Avner Bahat initiated and established a book series on music, which − within a decade − has published some twenty books in Hebrew, including monographies on Israeli composers (for instance, on Partos by himself, and on Ben-Haim by Yehoash Hirshberg).
Together with his wife Naomi he began in 1975 an interdisciplinary long term research on Poetry-Music-Dance of the Jewish-Yemenite Diwan. The project already yielded several recordings − Jewish-Yemenite Diwan (Unesco Collection Musical Sources) and Ahavat Hadasa and Ahuv Libi (Beth Hatefutsoth Records) − and the books Saperi Tama (1995) and Yaanu Bekol Shirim (2006, with two CDs).
In 1972 Bahat represented Israel at the International Rostrum of Composers of Unesco in Paris. In 1979 he was the head of the Israeli delegation to Europe of Music and Dance in Jewish Traditions invited by the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies in Berlin.
In 1996, his book L'oeuvre lyrique de Blondel de Nesle – Mélodies (in collaboration with Gerard Le Vot) was published in France.
In 1980-1982 Bahat served as secretary of the Israeli Musicological Society. He retired from Beth Hatefutsoth in 2000. In 2011 appeared his book Jewish Music and in 2012 Seu Zimra – complete songs by Sara Levi-Tanai, which he edited and notated.
The same year he was awarded, with his wife Naomi, the Shabazi Prize for “a special contribution to the research of the poetry-music-dance of the Jews of Yemen”.
In 2013 he was awarded the Engel Prize for music research awarded the Tel Aviv municipality. Avner Bahat is married to Naomi Bahat-Ratzon, father of Ofer and grandfather of Roni, Shay, Guy and Lee.