Schoenberg, Arnold

(1874-1951)
   composer and teacher; leader of the New Vienna School—consisting of Schoenberg and his students Alban Berg and Anton von Webern—and arguably the pioneer in twentieth-century music* composition. Born in Vienna to Jewish parents recently relocated from Slovakia, he mastered the violin as a boy; yet, aside from minor coaching from composer and conductor Alexander von Zemlinsky (his future brother-in-law), he was mostly self-taught. He earned a living in the 1890s by orchestrating operettas and worked in Berlin* during 1901-1903 as conductor of a cabaret* orchestra. Returning to Vienna, he soon became an esteemed composition teacher, in-structing from 1910 at the Vienna Academy. Berg and Webern became his students in 1904.
   The leader of musical Expressionism,* Schoenberg claimed that there "is only one great goal to which the artist must strive, [and] that is to express himself." Deciding that the German musical tradition—represented at the time by Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner, and Richard Strauss*—was too dense and complex, he established his reputation in 1899 with Verklarte Nacht (Transfig-ured night). From about 1908, his goal was to simplify music by expunging consonance and dissonance. The desire for clarity led him to the revolutionary step of challenging the concept of harmony. In 1923, after years of speculation, he wrote a treatise on his twelve-tone technique.
   To assume a post with the Stern Conservatory, Schoenberg returned to Berlin in 1911. He was seriously involved with painting (he completed eighty paintings during 1907-1912), and his friendship with Wassily Kandinsky* led him to exhibit with the Blaue Reiter in December 1911. World War I forced him back to Austria.* After serving in the Habsburg army, he instructed private pupils in Vienna. In 1925 he succeeded Ferruccio Busoni* as instructor of the composi-tion master class at the Prussian Arts Academy; deemed "Europe's liberal mu-sical metropolis," Berlin provided a respite from the stifling anti-Semitic* atmosphere of the Austrian capital. Flourishing, Schoenberg composed the comic opera Von Heute auf Morgen, the Third String Quartet, the Variations for Orchestra, the Cello Concerto, and two acts of Moses und Aron, an opera portraying Israel's struggle for national freedom.
   On 20 March 1933, soon after Hitler* seized power, Schoenberg quit the Prussian Academy. He fled Germany in May and soon arrived in the United States. Settling in 1934 in Los Angeles, he became a popular lecturer at UCLA and never returned to Europe. Among those few Jews* foreseeing the Holocaust, he embraced the Jewish faith and sought to organize a rescue mission for German Jews, even producing plans for a Jewish Unity Party designed for self-defense.
   REFERENCES:Reich, Schoenberg; Alexander Ringer, Arnold Schoenberg; Joan Smith, Schoenberg and His Circle; Stuckenschmidt, Schoenberg.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • SCHOENBERG, ARNOLD — (1874–1951), composer, teacher, and theorist; discoverer of the method of composition with twelve tones related to one another as he himself described it. Born to an Orthodox family in Vienna, Schoenberg became converted to Christianity in 1898… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Schoenberg, Arnold — (1874–1951)    Among the 20th century’s major musical innovators, Schoenberg was largely self taught. His first compositions, heavily influenced by Alexander Zemlinsky (1871–1942), who eventually married Schoenberg’s sister, were lushly tonal in… …   Historical dictionary of Austria

  • Schoenberg, Arnold — (1874–1951)    Austrian composer. Schoenberg was a self taught composer who experimented with new theories and techniques. He broke away from the classical tonal composition and evolved a controversial 12 tone system. His work paved the way for… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Schoenberg, Arnold — (1874 1951)    Austrian composer. He was born in Vienna, and held teaching positions in Vienna, Berlin and Amsterdam. In 1924 he settled in Berlin. He left Germany in 1933, and lived in the US. His compositions include the opera Moses and Ann,… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Schoenberg, Arnold (Franz Walter) — born Sept. 13, 1874, Vienna, Austro Hungarian Empire died July 13, 1951, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S. Austrian born U.S. composer. He was raised as a Catholic by his Jewish born parents. He began studying violin at age eight and later taught himself …   Universalium

  • Arnold Schoenberg — ( [ˈaːrnɔlt ˈʃøːnbɛrk] ) (13 September 1874 ndash; 13 July 1951) was an Austrian and later American composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. He used the spelling… …   Wikipedia

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  • Schoenberg — Schoenberg, Arnold (1874 1951) an Austrian ↑composer who went to the US in 1933. He invented the twelve tone system of writing modern music, in which music is written around a set of twelve notes of a ↑Chromatic ↑scale. His system has influenced… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Arnold — /ahr nld/, n. 1. Benedict, 1741 1801, American general in the Revolutionary War who became a traitor. 2. Sir Edwin, 1832 1904, English poet and journalist. 3. Henry H. ( Hap ), 1886 1950, U.S. general. 4. Matthew, 1822 88, English essayist, poet …   Universalium

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