Tzvi Avni is one of the foremost composers of Israel today. He was born in Saarbrücken, Germany, in 1927, and came to Israel as a child. Initially self-taught he continued his studies with Abel Ehrlich and Paul Ben-Haim. In 1958 he graduated from the Israel Music Academy in Tel Aviv under Mordecai Seter and later furthered his studies in the U.S.A. at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center with Vladimir Ussachevsky and in Tanglewood with Aaron Copland and Lukas Foss. Since 1971 he has been teaching at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance where he holds the position of Professor of theory and composition and served as head of the Electronic Music Studio.
His works include several orchestral pieces, chamber music for various combinations, vocal and choral music, several electronic works, as well as music for ballet, theater, art films, radio plays, etc. They have been performed world-wide by numerous soloists and ensembles and by all Israeli orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, The Israel Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Saarland Radio Synphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Bochum Symphony and others.
In his early works Avni followed the line of the so-called Mediterranean Style which was still prevalent in Israel in the 1950s. His encounter in the early 1960s with some of the newer trends in musical thinking, including the electronic medium, were a turning point in his style, which now became more abstract and focused on sonorism and post-Webern developments though preserving some of its former characteristics. Avni's interest in Jewish mysticism since the mid 1970s left a further mark on his musical language in which some neo-tonal elements manifest themselves in a new synthesis.
Avni is a recipient of several prizes, including the ACUM Prize for his life achievements (1986) and the Kuestermeier Prize awarded to him by the Germany-Israel Friendship Association (1990), The Israel Prime Minister's Prize for his life achievements (1998), the Culture Prize of the Saarland (1998) and the Israel Prize (2000).
Constantly active in Israel's public musical life, Tzvi Avni served in the past as Chairman of the Israel Composers' League and led the World Music Days which took place in Israel in 1980. For several years he was Chairman of the Music Committee of the National Council for Culture and Art, served twice as Chairman of the Jury of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition (in 1989 and in 1992) and is currently Chairman of the Directory Board of the Israel Jeunesses Musicales. He has been constantly lecturing and publishing articles on musical topics for professional musicians as well as for a general public.