Paul Hindemith, classical music composer

Paul Hindemith image

Paul Hindemith

Biography

Paul Hindemith was born in Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, on November 16, 1895. He began learning violin at a young age and went on to study the instrument, as well as composition, at Frankfurt's Hoch Conservatory. However, his tenure there was cut short when he was called up for military service in 1917. Much of this, though, was spent in a regimental band. Following the war, he returned to music and performance. In 1921, he founded the Amar Quartet, in which he played viola. Two years later he became one of the organizers of the Donaueschingen Festival, where he programmed the music of fellow avant-garde composers Anton Webern and Arnold Schoenberg. His own introduction to the international scene as a composer came in 1922 when some of his pieces were performed at the International Society for Contemporary Music festival in Salzburg.

In the decade leading up to the outbreak of World War II, Hindemith experienced a complicated relationship with the rising Nazi Party. His early music, which had begun in the late Romantic idiom but had shifted towards the expressionist style of Arnold Schoenberg, brought the public denouncement of Germany's Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who had labeled him in a 1934 speech in Berlin as an "atonal noisemaker." Others, however, took into consideration Hindemith's current contrapuntal style based more in tonality which he had been writing in since the 1920s. Among his proponents was the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who published a defense of Hindemith's music the same year as Goebbels speech.

In 1935, Hindemith was invited by the Turkish government to reorganize music education in their country and to help in the establishment of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet. His efforts were successful and even found the support of his government back home, likely because his absence in another country was simply rather convenient but also because Hindemith saw himself as an ambassador of German culture and drew on German ideals of music history and education.

Eventually, however, the strain of Hindemith's tenuous relationship with the Nazi regime, as well as his wife's partial Jewish ancestry, forced him to immigrate to Switzerland in 1938. Two years later, he left Europe for the United States and became a naturalized citizen in 1946. He taught at Yale University where his students included Lukas Foss, Graham George and Norman Dello Joio.

With the Second World War over, he returned to Europe in 1953. He took up residence in Zürich and a teaching post at the university there. In the succeeding years, he also began to conduct more, making numerous recordings of his own compositions. Hindemith's health, however, began a long decline and at the age of sixty-eight, Hindemith passed away in Frankfurt from pancreatitis.


Composer Title Date Action
Paul Hindemith Two Duets for Violin and Clarinet from the Music Day at Plön 02/12/2009 Play Add to playlist
Paul Hindemith Violin Sonata in E major 04/16/2009 Play Add to playlist
Paul Hindemith Sonata for Flute and Piano 01/11/2009 Play Add to playlist
Paul Hindemith Viola Sonata Op. 11 No. 4 01/26/2009 Play Add to playlist
Paul Hindemith Viola Sonata Op. 11 No. 4 12/21/2011 Play Add to playlist
Paul Hindemith Viola Sonata Op. 11 No. 4 11/20/2012 Play Add to playlist
Paul Hindemith Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 25, No. 4 08/30/2011 Play Add to playlist