Karl Weigl : Jewish composer, died Aug 11, 1949


Karl Weigl, born Vienna, 6 Feb 1881; died New York, 11 Aug 1949.

Austrian composer, naturalized American. After graduating from the Vienna Music Academy in 1902, he studied composition with Alexander Zemlinsky and musicology with Guido Adler at the University of Vienna (PhD 1904). He served as a rehearsal conductor for Gustav Mahler at the Vienna Hofoper (1904–06) and taught at the Vienna City Conservatory (1918–28), before becoming professor of theory and composition at the University of Vienna in 1930. In 1938, with the annexation of Austria by Hitler, Weigl, who was Jewish, found that his works could no longer be performed. He left Vienna for the USA, where, after considerable difficulty, he obtained teaching positions at the Hartt School of Music (1941–2), Brooklyn College (1943–5), the Boston Conservatory (1946–8) and the Philadelphia Musical Academy (1948–9) among other institutions. He became an American citizen in 1943.

String Quartet No. 5 In G Major, Op. 31: Larghetto
Performed by the Artis Quartett Wien

Weigl was a respected composer in both Austria and the USA; his music was admired by Richard Strauss, Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Bruno Walter, and Wilhelm Furtwängler. Representing the best of Viennese tradition in the melodiousness and clarity of design of his works, he was a particularly prolific composer of lieder in the tradition of Hugo Wolf and Mahler. The instrumental works combine a Brahmsian emphaticism with a profusion of polyphony. A Karl Weigl Memorial Fund, established for the perpetuation of his music through study, performance and recording, was set up at Mannes College in New York; its administration was transferred to Indiana University in 1979. He was married to the music therapist and composer Vally Weigl.

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