Composer Nurit Hirsch Is Born
Photo: Ilan Besor

August 13, 1942

Nurit Hirsch, a musician and composer, is born in Tel Aviv. From a young age, she plays piano at a theater, a ballet studio and a quartet club. She plays in a Armored Corps band unit during her Israel Defense Forces service, then begins to compose songs.

She learns with Israel Prize winners Mordechai Seter and Yeheskiel Braun at the Rubin Academy of Music, then studies contemporary and electronic music at UCLA. Her songs are first recorded in 1965: “Perach ha-Lilach” (“The Lilac Flower”) by the Sarid Trio and “Kechulah ka-Halom” (“Blue as a Dream”) by the Gesher ha-Yarkon Trio. During her most prolific 40-year period, she composes approximately 1,200 songs, setting others’ lyrics to music.

Hirsch is known for diverse stylistic choices. In 1969, her version of “Oseh Shalom bi-Meromav” wins third place at Israel’s first festival of Hasidic music. Israel submits her “Ey-sham,” with lyrics by Ehud Manor, as the state’s first Eurovision entry in 1973; the song places fourth. Her song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi,” again with Manor’s lyrics, gives Israel its first Eurovision win through a performance by Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta in 1978.

She composes the music for 14 films and several stage musicals and TV series. Her songs have won the annual Israel Radio song competition several times, including compositions using lyrics by Manor, Leah Goldberg and Judah Halevi. She wins first place at music festivals in such nations as Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Portugal, Chile and France. She also finds success with children’s songs.

Among several lifetime achievement awards, she wins the Israel Prize in 2016.