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 Egon Wellesz

Egon Wellesz

Birth
Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Death 9 Nov 1974 (aged 89)
Oxford, City of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Burial Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Plot 32.c.38
Memorial ID 10307 · View Source
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Composer, Musicologist. Born in Vienna, he studied music privately with Arnold Schoenberg (1904 to 1906), who exerted a lifelong influence on his style. In 1908 he received a doctorate from the University of Vienna, joined its faculty as a lecturer in 1913 and was a professor there from 1930 to 1938. As a scholar he made signficant discoveries in the field of Byzantine music and was regarded as its leading authority in the West. With the Nazi annexation of Austria he emigrated to Oxford, England, where he lived and taught for the rest of his life. Although he was a Schoenberg devotee, Wellesz was perhaps too independent-minded to join fellow students Anton Webern and Alban Berg in forming the Second Viennese School. He never abandoned traditional tonality entirely. His mature style was a synthesis of late romanticism, neoclassical clarity, archaic modes, and atonal (and later serialist) elements. Wellesz left around 130 compositions and his work is easily divided into two periods. Up until World War II he was noted for his stage music, particularly the operas "Alkestis" (to a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, 1924), and "Die Backchantinnen" (1931); these and the ballet "Achilles auf Skyros" (1921) reflected his interest in Greek mythology. The upheaval of exile and World War II plunged Wellesz into a creative depression and he wrote nothing for years, finally breaking his silence with the confident String Quartet No. 5 (1944). Having previously ignored the symphonic genre, he wrote nine symphonies between 1945 and 1971 and these are the backbone of his second, "British" phase. His other opuses include a Piano Concerto (1933), a Violin Concerto (1961), the opera "Incognita" (1950), sacred and secular works for chorus, and a good deal of chamber music, including nine string quartets. He also wrote the first biography of Schoenberg (1920) and the books "Eastern Elements in Western Chant" (1947) and "A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnology" (1948).

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10307
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Egon Wellesz (21 Oct 1885–9 Nov 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10307, citing Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .