Jewish Music & Poetry Project

Poets & Musicians

Arnold Schoenberg, composer

The great music theorist, writer, composer, and painter Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) needs no introduction to music lovers or musicians. Born in Vienna, he was a protégé of Strauss and Mahler, married Zemlinsky’s sister in 1901 and taught at the Academy of Arts in Berlin until the Nazis—who considered his music degenerate –came into power in 1933. Warned of the situation in Germany while he was on vacation in France, he reclaimed his Jewish heritage—after having converted to Christianity in 1899—and moved to Los Angeles with his second wife (Mathilde having died in 1923), becoming a U.S. citizen in 1941.  In Los Angeles, he taught at UCLA and USC, where he became a friend to George Gershwin, as well as his tennis partner. As one of the key figures of the Second Viennese School, Schoenberg and his influence on the development of music cannot be understated.