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Paul Hindemith

0317.1a photo Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith (November 16, 1895–December 28, 1963) was a German composer, violinist, violist, teacher, and conductor. He was born in Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, and was later moved to Switzerland during the Nazi period partly because his wife was part Jewish. He later moved to the US in 1940 and taught at Yale University. He became an American citizen in 1946, but moved back to Zurich in 1953.

What was the focus of his career?

He was an active composer, violinist, violist, teacher, and a conductor.

What were the highlights of his career?

Hindemith was the leader of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra in 1914, founded the Amar Quartet in 1921, was appointed professor at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He was also a viola soloist; he played the solo part in the premiere of William Walton‘s Viola Concerto in 1929 after Lionel Tertis rejected it, as well as performing many of his own works. During the 1930s, he reorganized Turkish music education and established the Turkish State Opera and Ballet.

What were his influences/where did he go to school?

Hindemith’s compositions were heavily influenced by his close friend, Erich Katz.

Hindemith started taking violin lessons with Eugen Reinhardt in 1902 and continued under Anna Hegner in 1907. It was Hegner who made it possible for Hindemith to study violin with Adolf Rebner. He also studied conducting and composition with Arnold Mendelssohn and Bernhard Sekles at Frankfurt’s Hoch’sche Konservatorium,

Works written for him?

Milhaud composed his first viola concerto for Hindemith.

Did he have any notable students?

When he taught at Yale University, his notable students included Lukas FossGraham GeorgeNorman Dello JoioMel Powell,Yehudi WynerHarold ShaperoHans OtteRuth Schonthal, and the Oscar-winning film director George Roy Hill.

What was his family life like?

Paul Hindemith married Gertrud Rottenberg (1900–1967) on May 15, 1924, who was the daughter of Ludwig Rottenberg, the first Kapellmeister of the opera-house orchestra in Frankfurt.

Paul Hindemith had a younger sister named Toni and a younger brother named Rudolf, and they performed together as the “Frankfurt Children’s Trio” in 1910.

Fun fact

The Nazi party did not like Hindemith as a composer, because he was associated with Jewish musicians.


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