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Alexander Zemlinsky


About this Artist

Born: 1871, Vienna
Died: 1942, Larchmont, New York

"My time will come after my death."

Still known less for his music than as Arnold Schoenberg's principal teacher, ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY and his music have, of late, become more widely known thanks to new recordings and more frequent performances led by advocates such as Riccardo Chailly and James Conlon. He used his style, with its roots in the late 19th-century tradition of Johannes Brahms, to craft music of searing emotional intensity, a quality especially apparent in works written after his affair with his pupil Alma Schindler, who criticized him mercilessly (he was short and fairly unattractive) and eventually rejected him for Gustav Mahler. In the orchestral work Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid) and the operas Der Traumgörge (Görge the Dreamer) and Der Zwerg (The Dwarf), Zemlinsky worked through his trauma in music of haunting beauty and overwhelming power. Zemlinsky and his family emigrated to New York after the Nazi occupation of Austria in 1938; he died in obscurity four years later.