Schillinger, Joseph (Moiseievich)

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Schillinger, Joseph (Moiseievich)

Schillinger, Joseph (Moiseievich) , Russianborn American music theorist and composer; b. Kharkov, Aug. 31, 1895; d. N.Y., March 23, 1943. He studied at the St. Petersburg Cons. with Tcherepnin, Wihtol, and others. He was active as a teacher, conductor, and administrator in Kharkov (1918–22), Moscow, and Leningrad (1922–28). In 1928 he emigrated to the U.S. and became a naturalized American citizen in 1936; settled in N.Y. as a teacher of music, mathematics, and art history as well as his own system of composition based on rigid mathematical principles; taught at the New School for Social Research, N.Y.U., and Columbia Univ. Teachers Coll.; also gave private lessons. Among his pupils were Tommy Dorsey, Vernon Duke, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Oscar Levant, and Glenn Miller. Schillinger pubi, a short vol. of musical patterns, Kaleidophone: New Resources of Melody and Harmony (N.Y, 1940). L. Dowling and A. Shaw ed. and pubi, his magnum opus, The Schillinger System of Musical Composition (2 vols., N.Y., 1941; fourth ed., 1946); this was followed by The Mathematical Basis of the Arts (N.Y, 1948) and Encyclopedia of Rhythm (N.Y., 1966). Schillinger was also a composer. His works include March of the Orient for Orch. (Leningrad, May 12, 1926), First Airphonic Suite for Theremin and Orch. (Cleveland, Nov. 28, 1929; Leo Theremin soloist), North-Russian Symphony (1930), The People and the Prophet, ballet (1931), piano pieces, songs, etc.

Bibliography

F. Schillinger, J. S.: A Memoir by His Wife (N.Y., 1949); D. Augestine, Four Theories of Music in the United States, 1900–1950: Cowell, Yasser, Partch, S. (diss., Univ. of Tex., 1979).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire