(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad, Russia], 2 March 1909; dTel-Aviv, 13 Dec 1990). Israeli composer, conductor and string player. He studied the viola and composition with Hindemith at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1927–30). From 1930 to 1933 he played in the Grosses Orchester des Südwest deutschen Rundfunks. With the rise of the Nazis, he left Germany and, after a year's sojourn in Istanbul, emigrated to Palestine. In 1934 he settled in Jerusalem where he joined the Palestine Music Conservatory (1934–47) and the Jerusalem String Quartet (1934–9), both of which were founded two years earlier by the violinist Emil Hauser of the Budapest String Quartet. He was appointed to the Jerusalem New Conservatory and Academy of Music in 1947 (assistant director, 1949–54; director, 1954–8). He later moved to Tel-Aviv, where he played the viola in the Israel PO until 1974. During 1974–5 he served as guest artist and professor of music at the Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa. Thereafter, he led the Herzliyah String Quartet, and finally his own quartet.
Jacoby composed in a conservative, tonal style. He believed in writing accessible music that could be performed by amateur groups. He argued that ‘there is only one way to be progressive: to appear to be reactionary, and not to follow any fashion’ (Toeplitz, 1972 and Fleisher, 1997). Influenced by his teacher, Hindemith, and by the oriental melodies that he heard from the young Israeli singer Brakhah Tsefirah, he combined Israeli and oriental Jewish melodic styles with European counterpoint. Some of his compositions, especially the cantata ‘Od yavo yom (‘The Day will Come’, 1944), the Suite for Strings (1946), Kinnor hayah le-David (‘King David's Lyre’) in honour of the birth of the state of Israel (1948) and Judean Hill Dance: Hora Variations (1952), gained popularity during the 1950s and early 1960s and were considered Israeli cultural symbols. During his later years, he wrote a series of pedagogical compositions for string instruments, all of which are based on Jewish tunes from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. His music enjoyed a revival during the 1990s.
for complete list see Tischler (1988)
Orch: Concertino, va, orch, 1940; Sym. no.1, 1944; Vn Conc., 1945; Suite, str, 1946; Kinnor hayah le-David [King David's Lyre], 1948; Judean Hill Dance: Hora Variations, 1952; Sym. no.2, 1955; Sinfonietta, 1960; Sym. no.3, 1960; Partita concertanta, 1971; Motatio, 1975; Variations for Orch, 1976; Mutatio II, 1977
Vocal: 3 songs (R.M. Rilke), Mez, va, pf, 1937; ‘Od yavo yom [The Day will Come] (cant., A.D. Gordon), S, T, SATB, orch, 1944; songs (various Israeli poets), 1v, pf, 1947
Chbr and solo inst: Str Qt no.1, 1937; Str Qt no.2, 1938; Wind Qnt, 1946