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Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg

Country of origin: Austria
Birthday: September 13, 1874
Date of death: July 13, 1951

About Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg was born in Vienna on 13 September 1874 as son of the Jewish merchant Samuel Schoenberg and his wife Pauline. As early as 1882 he took his first violin lessons and made his first attempts at composing. After finishing school in 1890, he started to train as a clerk in a bank and worked for the private bank Werner & Co in Vienna until 1895. In 1894, being a member of the amateur orchestra ’Polyhymnia’, he met his future teacher and brother-in-law Alexander Zemlinsky. In the following years Schoenberg devoted himself mainly to composing and directing workers’ choirs. In 1901, upon recommendation of Richard Strauss, he got a job as musical director at the Berlin cabaret ’Überbrettl’ and in 1902 taught composition at the Stern Conservatoire. In 1903 he returned to Vienna where he set up as a composer and teacher of composition.

Among the pupils he taught at the progressive ’Schwarzwald-Schule’ in Vienna, were Alban Berg and Anton Webern among others. In his ’Harmonielehre’ of 1911 Schoenberg digested his experience of teaching.
Apart from working as a composer, he also turned to painting from 1907. He contributed to the almanac ’Der blaue Reiter’ published by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. He was also successful in the field of music with performances of his melodrama cycle Pierrot lunaire Op. 21 (1912) and the world première of Gurrelieder (1913) in Vienna.

After scandal concerts with atonal works and futile attempts to get a university job, Schoenberg began to work again as teacher at the Stern Conservatoire in 1913. From 1915 to 1918 he was called up for military service. After World War I Schoenberg founded the Society for Private Musical Performances (1918-1921) the object of which was, above all, to give public rehearsals and performances of contemporary progressive music. In 1923 he publicly announced his twelve-note serial method of composition.
From 1925 Schoenberg took charge of the master class in composition at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, in succession to Ferruccio Busoni. During that time he was appointed honorary member of the Academia Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 1932 he finished the opera Moses and Aron.

In 1933, the year the National Socialists took over power, Schoenberg had to give up his post at the Berlin Academy. That year he emigrated to the USA via Paris and found a job as music teacher at the Malkin Conservatoire in Boston. From 1936 to 1944 he held a professorship in music in the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1941 he was granted American citizenship. In 1947 he was elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, in 1949 the city of Vienna conferred the freedom of the city on him. Schoenberg died in Los Angeles on 13 July 1951.

Unlike any other composer of his time, Schoenberg initiated a radical change towards New Music. Nevertheless he always saw his works of the Second Viennese School as logical continuation of Western, particularly Austrian music tradition. As teacher of composition he shaped several generations of important musicians and composers. Since the 1950s the twelve-note technique developed by him has become the basis of serial composition techniques.

Please visit the website of the Arnold Schoenberg Center www.schoenberg.at


Worklist

Chronology

1874
geboren am 13. September in Wien
1882
erster Geigenunterricht
1893
Komposition seines ersten vollständig erhaltenen Werks "In hellen Träumen hab ich Dich oft geschaut"
1894
Begegnung mit Alexander Zemlinsky als Mitglied im Dilettantenorchester „Polyhymnia“
1895
Chormeister des Metallarbeiter-Sängerbunds Stockerau
1898
Übertritt zum protestantischen Glauben
1899
Komposition des Streichsextetts "Verklärte Nacht" op. 4
1901
Heirat mit Mathilde Zemlinsky
1902
Geburt der Tochter Gertrude am 8. Januar
1904
Mitbegründer der "Vereinigung schaffender Tonkünstler" 
Alban Berg, Anton Webern und Egon Wellesz werden Schüler Schönbergs.
1905
Uraufführung von "Pelleas et Melisande" op. 5 in Wien
1906
Geburt des Sohnes Georg am 22. September
1907
Uraufführung der "Kammersymphonie" op. 9 in Wien
1908
Uraufführung des "II. Streichquartetts" op. 10 in Wien
1909
Komposition der "Fünfzehn Gedichte aus 'Das Buch der hängenden Gärten' von Stefan George" op. 15, der "Fünf Orchesterstücke" op. 16 und des Melodrams "Erwartung" op. 17
1910
Intensive Beschäftigung mit der Malerei 
Ausstellung von Schönbergs Gemälden in der Galerie Heller in Wien
1911
Begegnung mit Wassily Kandinsky 
Gemälde von Schönberg werden in der Ausstellung "Der Blaue Reiter" in der Münchener Galerie Thannhauser gezeigt. 
Schönberg beendet die Arbeit an seiner "Harmonielehre". 
Komposition der "Sechs kleinen Klavierstücke" op. 19
1912
Uraufführung von "Pierrot lunaire" op. 21 in Berlin
1913
Uraufführung der "Gurre-Lieder" in Wien 
Skandalkonzert im Wiener Musikvereinssaal mit Werken von Schönberg und seinen Schülern („Watschenkonzert“)
1917-22
Komposition von „Die Jakobsleiter“. Das Werk bleibt unvollendet.
1918
„Seminar für Komposition“ an der Schwarzwald-Schule in Wien 
Gründung des „Vereins für musikalische Privataufführungen“
1919
Hanns Eisler, Rudolf Kolisch und Karl Rankl werden Schüler Schönbergs.
1923
Komposition der ersten zwölftönigen Werke: "Fünf Klavierstücke" op. 23, "Suite für Klavier" op. 25, "Serenade" op. 24
1924
Heirat mit Gertrud Kolisch
1925
Leiter der Meisterklasse für Komposition an der Berliner Akademie der Künste (Nachfolge Ferruccio Busonis)
1930
Uraufführung des ersten zwölftönigen Bühnenwerks "Von Heute auf Morgen" op. 32
1932
Geburt der Tochter Dorothea Nuria am 7. Mai
1933
Nach der Machtergreifung der Nationalsozialisten Ausschluss aus der Akademie und Emigration nach Paris 
Rekonversion zum jüdischen Glauben 
Emigration in die USA 
Lehrtätigkeit am Malkin-Konservatorium in Boston und New York
1934
Übersiedelung nach Los Angeles
1935
Vorlesungen an der University of Southern California in Los Angeles
John Cage nimmt bei Schönberg Privatunterricht in Komposition.
1936-44
Professur für Musik an der University of California
1937
Geburt des Sohnes Ronald am 26. Mai
1938
Uraufführung von "Kol Nidre" op. 39 in Los Angeles
1941
Geburt des Sohnes Lawrence am 27. Januar
1944
Uraufführung des "Konzerts für Klavier und Orchester" op. 42
1947
Mitglied der American Academy of Arts and Letters
1948
Uraufführung von "A Survivor from Warsaw" op. 46
1950
Veröffentlichung der Essaysammlung "Stil und Gedanke" und Vollendung der Schrift "Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint"
1951
Ernennung zum Ehrenpräsidenten der Israelitischen Musik - akademie in Jerusalem 
Uraufführung von "Der Tanz um das Goldene Kalb" aus der Fragment gebliebenen Oper "Moses und Aron" in Darmstadt
_____
Schönberg stirbt am 13. Juli in Los Angeles.

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