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Schönberg, Arnold (1874 - 1951)

Arnold Schönberg was born on September 13, 1874 in Vienna, where he lived until 1933, when he emigrated to the United States via France. He died in Los Angeles on July 13, 1951. Schönberg is considered the founder of twelve-tone music.

Largely self-taught he also took lessons from his friend Alexander von Zemlinsky. He soon began to give music instruction himself, in fact he attracted his first pupils by advertising, and at first earned his livelihood as choir director, arranger of operetta music and as a pianist. His earliest works, which are Late Romantic in spirit, attracted the interest of his contemporaries. These compositions reflect the influence of Brahms, Wagner and Richard Strauss. Atonality, or the dissolution of harmony– which until Schönberg was the foundation of musical composition–is considered the musical counterpart to expressionism in painting. Schönberg’s oeuvre has many facets: not only did he compose–including works such as the Songs of Gurra (Gurrelieder), operas (Die Glückliche Hand and Moses und Aaron), choral and orchestral pieces–but also published theoretical studies such as Theory of Harmony (1911).