Avni grew in Saarbrücken Sophie street 3 under his family name Hermann Jakob Steinke, his parents were Polish Jews. In 1935 his parents emigrated with him to Haifa in Palestine; there came after some years his father tragically lost their lives.
Only at the age of 16, he learned to read music and play instruments. He received his musical training at Paul Ben -Haim and Abel Ehrlich. After studying at the Israel Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, where he graduated with Mordecai Seter 1958, he continued his education in the U.S. at Columbia - Princeton Electronic Music Center in Vladimir Ussachevski and at Tanglewood with Aaron Copland and Lukas Foss; in the U.S., he spent his happiest years by its own account. Since 1971 he has been a professor at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem, where he was both Head of the Department as well as founder and director of the Electronic Music Studio.
Avni developed in addition to his musical activities, a great proximity to the painting, which influenced his musical work sustainably. " My relationship to painting was once very strong, when I was younger. The painting is me always remained very close " ( Avni in an interview with Klaus Stahmer [ see references ] ). Stahmer observes, " In concrete terms, the proximity leads to painting at the Avni in " Five Pantomimes " [see works]. Here are five great painters of our century, of which he selects certain pieces of legislation into sounding medium: Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky, Dali and Klee. Avni follows his personal visual impressions, and he implements them structurally, in form and content. "
In his early work, which was influenced by Béla Bartók, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and later by the main representatives of the Second Viennese School, Arnold Schoenberg, Avni be oriented more on the so-called " Mediterranean style " that prevailed in Israel in the 1950s. In the following decade he came into contact with new trends of the then avant-garde music, especially with the electronic sound production. The latter was his medium to a new, unique style, which was more abstract. Nevertheless, in his musical creativity always the reference to the tradition of Jewish music was important to him, whose roots he explored during his employment with the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah, in the seventies. "I would say that in the sixties and seventies, my music was Jewish " [ Avni, quoted in Spangemacher ].
Avni composed ballets and incidental music next orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, songs, works for instruments and electronic music for films and radio plays. He frequently publishes articles on musical topics and has lectured around the world at universities and other universities.
Tzvi Avni is one of the main Israeli composers. His compositional work he sees embedded in its social and political environment, with his musical creations are in dialogue. He lives and works in Tel Aviv.
Voluntary work (selection)
- Chairman of " the Israel Composers League " ( Israeli Composers' Union )
- Chairman of " World Music Days " 1980 ( ISCM )
- Chairman of " National Council for Culture and Art / Committee for Music "
- Jury Member " Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition"