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American composer and conductor Jacob Avshalomov was born in Tsingtao, China on 28 March 1919 to Siberian composer Aaron Avshalomov and a mother from San Francisco. He grew up mostly in China, then moved to the USA with his mother in 1937, where he studied with Ernst Toch in Los Angeles and with Bernard Rogers at the Eastman School of Music.
During World War II he lived in London, and when peace returned, taught at Columbia University (1946-54), conducting the first American performances of Anton Bruckner's Mass No 1 and Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time. He was on the US National Humanities Council (1968-74) and the Music Planning Section of the US National Arts Endowment (1977-9). He also had a forty year tenure as conductor of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.
Avshalomov wrote much orchestral and other music and some is recorded on CRI (Composers Recordings Inc). His work is known for rapid changes of time signature from bar to bar.
He died at home in Portland, Oregon on 25 April 2013, aged ninety-four.