Composer Corner: Schoenberg

September’s composer of the month is Arnold Schoenberg.


Born: September 13, 1874

Died: July 13, 1951


Five facts:

• Schoenberg is most famous for ‘discovering’ the 12-tone method of composition, which involved taking the 12 notes of the musical scale and arranging them in a pre-determined order.
• Composer Richard Strauss once said of Schoenberg, “He’d be better off shoveling snow than scribbling on manuscript paper.”
• In the 1930s, Schoenberg fled Nazi Germany for a teaching job in Los Angeles, where he spent the rest of his life.
• The composer suffered from triskaidekaphobia — fear of the number 13. Ironically, he died on Friday the 13th, 1951.
• Before dying, his last words were “Harmony! Harmony! Harmony!”

Three important works:

• String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, Op. 7 (1905)
• Drei Klavierstücke, Op. 11 (1909)
• Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 (1912)

Audio Backpack playlist: Arnold Schoenberg

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