Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was a composer, conductor, composition teacher, and music school administrator. He was Swiss-born and took advanced studies in Germany and France. He became an American citizen in 1924, but lived in Switzerland again during 1930-39. He had briefly been a symphonic conductor in Switzerland and continued to appear as a guest conductor, mostly of his own works.
His music was by turns spiritual, nationalistic, or abstract. He is best known for his rhapsody for cello and orchestra entitled Schelomo, but he was also a vesatile composer for other solo instruments, piano, string quartet, chorus, and orchestra.
Bloch suffered from numerous afflictions, including nervous troubles, suicide attempts, and cancer. He was married with three children.
During the 1910s Bloch taught at the Conservatory of Geneva and the David Mannes School in New York. He was founding director of the Cleveland Instutute (1920-25) and director of the San Francisco Conservatory (1925-30). He gave lectures at the University of California at Berkeley from 1939 to 1952. He continued composing until 1958.
Suite Modale was first written in 1956 with piano accompaniment and was then adapted to string orchestra. The piano version was first performed in 1957, the orchestral version in 1958. Bloch inscribed the work to flutist Elaine Shaffer.
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