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Alexander von Zemlinsky

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Alexander Zemlinsky or Alexander von Zemlinsky, (14 October 1871 – 15 March 1942) was an Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.

Zemlinsky was born in Vienna and studied the piano from a young age. He played the organ in his synagogue on holidays, and was admitted to the Vienna Conservatory in 1884. He studied piano with Anton Door, winning the school’s piano prize in 1890. Zemlinsky also studied composition and began to write music.

Zemlinsky had a valuable supporter in Johannes Brahms; he recommended the younger composer’s Clarinet Trio (1896) to the Simrock company for publication. Zemlinsky also met Arnold Schönberg when the latter joined Polyhymnia, an orchestra in which he played cello and helped found in 1895. The two became close friends—and later mutual admirers. Zemlinsky gave Schönberg lessons in counterpoint, thus becoming the only formal music teacher Schönberg would have.

In 1897 Zemlinsky’s Symphony No. 2 (chronologically the third he had written, and sometimes numbered as such) was a success when premiered in Vienna. His reputation as a composer was further helped when Gustav Mahler conducted the premiere of his opera Es war einmal at the Hofoper in 1900. In 1899 Zemlinsky secured the post of Kapellmeister at Vienna’s Carltheater.

In 1900, Zemlinsky met and fell in love with Alma Schindler, one of his composition students.

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  • KraeheK

    Von just sounds way cooler =3 The psalms are just insanely gorgeous late Romanticism, everything is there.

    2 May 2010 Reply
  • insomniacme

    didn't they abolish the "von" nobility before his death? does not that mean this name is invalid and this wrong?

    17 Jan 2010 Reply
  • shinobi001

    I love Zemlinsky! Especially his first symphony and the Lyricishe Symphony.

    11 Feb 2009 Reply

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