Schoenberg in America, Feature

Arnold Schoenberg died in Los Angeles on July 13, 1951. The Viennese-born composer (9/13/1874) spent the last 17 years of his life in Los Angeles, which became a safe heaven for many artists, including the authors Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Berthold Brecht, composer Hanns Eisler, and conductor Otto Klemperer. They all shared the fate of having become unpopular with the Nazis in Germany. Schoenberg had even two points against him with the Hitler regime. First, he was Jewish. Secondly, his twelve-tone music, which rigorously abandonned traditional harmonies, was labeled "degenerate art" under the Nazis. After his emigration in 1933, Schoenberg taught in Boston and New York for a short time, before moving to Los Angeles in 1934. Yet, the autumn of his life was not easy - Schoenberg had to struggle to make a living, and when the war was over, his poor health didn't allow him to travel back to Europe. On the other hand, Schoenberg was successful in many ways, and he had many uplifting encounters with other people. Georg Hirsch casts a look at Schoenberg's years in America.

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