Arnold Schoenberg  

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"There is no great work of art which does not convey a new message to humanity; there is no great artist who fails in this respect. This is the code of honor of all the great in art, and consequently in all great works of the great we will find that newness which never perishes, whether it be of Josquin des Pres, of Bach or Haydn, or of any other great master. Because: Art means New Art" --Arnold Schoenberg, Style and Idea, Selected Writings (London: Faber and Faber, 1975), p.115.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Arnold Schoenberg or Schönberg (13 September 1874 - 13 July 1951) was an Austrian-born American composer, music theorist, teacher, writer, and painter. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. With the rise of the Nazi Party, Schoenberg's works were labeled degenerate music, because they were modernist and atonal. He emigrated to the United States in 1933.

Schoenberg's approach, bοth in terms of harmony and development, has been one of the most influential of 20th-century musical thought. Many European and American composers from at least three generations have consciously extended his thinking, whereas others have passionately reacted against it.

Schoenberg was known early in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify innovations in atonality (although Schoenberg himself detested that term) that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. He also coined the term developing variation and was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.

Schoenberg was also an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, Egon Wellesz, Nikos Skalkottas, Stefania Turkewich, and later John Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim, Robert Gerhard, Leon Kirchner, Dika Newlin, and other prominent musicians. Many of Schoenberg's practices, including the formalization of compositional method and his habit of openly inviting audiences to think analytically, are echoed in avant-garde musical thought throughout the 20th century. His often polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many significant 20th-century musicologists and critics, including Theodor W. Adorno, Charles Rosen, and Carl Dahlhaus, as well as the pianists Artur Schnabel, Rudolf Serkin, Eduard Steuermann, and Glenn Gould.

Schoenberg's archival legacy is collected at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Arnold Schoenberg" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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