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Paul Hindemith


Paul Hindemith was born in Hanau on 16 November 1895. He studied at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt/Main violin and composition with Adolf Rebner, Arnold Mendelssohn, Bernhard Sekles and Fritz Bassermann. At the age of 20 he became first violin of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra. He had the possibility to play string quartets during his army service, after which he returned to Frankfurt, playing the viola-part in the Amar Quartet from 1921 to 1929.

In 1921 he was involved in the foundation of the Donaueschinger Musiktage, where the first performance of his string quartet op. 22 secured him great reputation. In 1927 Hindemith was appointed professor for composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He gave the first performances of William Walton's Viola Concerto (1929) and Darius Milhaud’s Viola Concerto (1930).

Hindemith's career as a composer prospered in the thirties, but as did many others, he suffered with the advent of Hitler and after 1933, his works disappeared from the concert programmes. He became an exile first in Switzerland (1938), then in America (1940), taking the american citizenship in 1946 and lecturing at the Yale University. In 1951 he accepted the position of a professor in Zurich where he finally settled in 1953.

Not only as a leading composer of our century, but also as conductor, teacher, performer and philosopher Hindemith has obtained an assured place in musical history. Hindemith's œuvre includes compositions of every genre: orchestral works, solo concertos, chamber music for various instruments, choral works, lieder, operas and ballets. As a musical theoretician he is the author of numerous books and essays.

Hindemith died in Frankfurt in 1963.


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