A Rhyme with a Reason
Written by: Leslie Siegel
As the saying goes, “there’s no rhyme or reason…” but there is a rhyme with reason behind Avi’s music and compositions.
Meet Avi Moghrabi: a composer, a musician and a father. Avi grew up in Holon, Israel worked a few years in Tel Aviv and now lives in Kfar Saba. Currently, Avi is a music editor at the Israel Music Institute. His music has won international prizes and has been played across the world from USA, to Germany to Tel Aviv by various ensembles. His journey to get here began when he was just three years old.
At three years old, Avi was given his first keyboard. The keyboard was very small and Avi mainly played by hearing music, not by the notes. Once his parents picked up on their son’s special gift, they enrolled Avi in a music conservatory in Holon, where he learned violin. At 16, Avi began writing music and used mainly the piano. Avi’s journey continued after the army at the Music Academy of Tel Aviv to study composition with renowned professor, Joseph Dorfman. Upon his passing, Avi studied composition with Mr. Ruben Serrousi and conducting with Mr. Vag Papian and Prof. Mendy Rodan. Avi would go on to eventually write and dedicate one of his pieces to the late professor Joseph Dorfman. Today, Avi works at the Israel Music Institute, an Israeli non-profit organization that publishes Israeli music as well as distributes books and CDs of Israeli artists and composers.
The Israel Music Institute was established in 1961 and the institution offers composers the opportunity and resources to publish their compositions. As the editor at the institute, Avi’s job comes with many responsibilities. He must organize and decide why to put things where they are in a piece of music.
Avi has his own way of writing music and he is a very analytical person. This quality greatly influences his style, where each piece is based on one small detail, one motif to develop a whole piece and each note is calculated — there is a reason behind Avi’s rhythms. Avi expressed that there are many struggles that come with being a composer. Especially for him, he is constantly fighting conflicts in regard to the style of his pieces. On one hand, Avi explained how every composer wants “to innovate and create something never done before,” but it is hard to create something from nothing and composers are always using what they know.
These struggles are amplified when it is equally as hard, or maybe even more difficult to make a living off of commissions in the music industry. The industry is tough to succeed in and sometimes artists are not even paid at all. When an artist does receive a commission, it doesn’t reflect the amount of work the artist put into it. Because of this, Avi says “musicians have to do something else on the side. It’s very hard to be a musician or a composer for a living.” Avi went as far as to say, for him, he frequently is not paid, but when he is, being paid is a bonus. Israel makes it especially difficult to live a life in the music field as classical music is just not as developed here as it is in other places around the world.
“Musicians have to do something else on the side. It’s very hard to be a musician or a composer for a living.”
When asked why he likes making music, Avi answered with an analogy: similar to a book author, “he writes because he wants to write.” Avi creates music because he wants to create music; it is an expressive form of creation that is refreshing for him. He reiterated he’s “doing it for the heart, not for the living.” This mentality has worked well for Avi since his hard work has paid off and his pieces have been performed internationally.
Reflecting on his past work, Avi articulated how his proudest accomplishment to date is his son. Regarding his music, he couldn’t pick one; they all had their own unique style, so he’s proud of them all.
Concluding the interview, Avi restated that for any musician, specifically composer, looking to join the industry, “never give up writing even when it is difficult to write and create, but always make sure to have something else in your hand.”
Avi has been lucky to be gifted with such talent and be able to successfully use this talent in the music industry. Thank you Avi for sharing your story and your music with the world!