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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » A » Avshalomov, Aaron

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Aaron Avshalomov (10/31/1894 - 4/26/1965)

Aaron Avshalomoff spent nearly thirty years in China, lured there by the street music, the legends and the sounds and costumes of traditional Chinese opera that he first encountered in the Chinese quarter of Nikolayevsk, the city in Siberia where he was born in 1895. After the Revolution of 1917, he traveled through China on his way to America, where he married, settling in San Francisco. By 1918 he had resolved to return to China, but had already traveled widely. After leaving school, he had been sent by his father to Zurich to study medicine, but abandoned the subject in order to spend a short time at the Stern School of Music. Apart from this, he was self-taught in music.

In China between 1918 and 1947 Avshalomoff worked to create a synthesis of Chinese musical elements and Western techniques of orchestral composition. Making his living primarily as a bookseller, he composed and produced his first opera, Kuan Yin (‘Goddess of Mercy’), in 1924. During a period between 1925 and 1929 spent in the United States, he managed to have this staged at the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York and a second work, The Soul of the Chin, was performed in Portland, Oregon. In China once more, he continued his former activities.




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