Schoeck, Othmar, eminent Swiss pianist, conductor, and composer; b. Brunnen, Sept. 1, 1886; d. Zürich, March 8, 1957. He was the son of the painter Alfred Schoeck. He went to Zürich, where he took courses at the Industrial Coll. before pursuing musical training with Attenhofer, Freund, Hegar, and Kempter at the Cons. (from 1905); after further studies with Reger in Leipzig (1907–08), he returned to Zürich and conducted the Aussersihl Men’s Chorus (1909–15), the Harmonie Men’s Chorus (1910–11), and the Teachers’ Chorus (1911–17); then was conductor of the St. Gallen sym. concerts (1917–44). Schoeck was one of the most significant Swiss composers of his era; he won his greatest renown as a masterful composer of songs, of which he wrote about 400. He also was highly regarded as a piano accompanist and a conductor. Among his many honors were an honorary doctorate from the Univ. of Zürich (1928), the first composer’s prize of the Schweizerische Tonkunstlerverein (1945), and the Grand Cross of Merit and Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1956). In 1959 the Othmar Schoeck Gesellschaft was founded to promote the performance of his works.
DRAMATIC : Opera: Don Ranudo de Colibrados, op.27 (1917–18; Zürich, April 16, 1919); Venus, op.32 (1919–20; Zürich, May 10, 1922); Penthesilea, op.39 (1924–25; Dresden, Jan. 8, 1927); Massimilla Doni, op.50 (1934–35; Dresden, March 2, 1937); Das Schloss Därande, op.53 (1938–39; Berlin, April 1, 1943); other stage works. ORCH .: Serenade for Small Orch., op.l (1906–07); Eine Ratcliff-Ouvertüre (1907); Concerto quasi una fantasia for Violin and Orch., op.21 (1911–12); Praeludium, op.48 (1932); Sommernacht for Strings, op.58 (1945); Suite for Strings, op.59 (1949); Cello Concerto, op.61 (1947); Festlicher Hymnus, op.64 (1951); Horn Concerto, op.65 (1951). CHAMBER : 3 violin sonatas (1908, 1909, 1931); 2 string quartets (1912–13; 1923); 2 clarinet sonatas (1916; 1927–28); piano pieces. VOCAL : Choral:’s Seeli for Men’s Chorus (1906–07); 5 Lieder (1906–15); Sehnsucht for Men’s Chorus (1909); Der Postillon for Tenor, Men’s Chorus, and Piano or Orch., op.18 (1909); Dithyrambe for Double Chorus and Orch., op.22 (1911); Wegelied for Men’s Chorus, and Piano or Orch., op.18 (1909); Trommelschläge for Chorus and Orch., op.26 (1915); Die Drei for Men’s Chorus (1930); Cantata for Baritone, Men’s Chorus, and Instruments, op.49 (1933); Für ein Gesangfest im Frühling for Men’s Chorus and Orch., op.54 (1942); Nachruf (1943); Zimmerspruch for Men’s Chorus (1947); Vision for Men’s Chorus, Brass, Percussion, and Strings, op.63 (1950); Maschinenschlacht for Men’s Chorus op.67a (1947); Vis ion for Men’s Chorus, op.67b (1953). Other : Numerous works for Solo Voice with instrumental accompaniment; about 400 songs, including cycles.
H. Corrodi, ed., O. S.: Festgabe…zum 50. Geburtstag (Erlenbach and Zürich, 1936); W. Vogel, Wesenszüge von O. S.s Liedkunst (Zürich, 1950); idem, Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von O. S. (Zürich, 1956); F. Kienberger, O. S.: Eine Studie (Zürich, 1975); S. Tiltmann-Fuchs, O. S.s Liederzyklen für Singstimme und Orchester (Regensburg, 1976); D. Puffet, The Song Cycles of O. S. (Stuttgart and Bern, 1982); B. Föllmi, Praktisches Verzeichnis der Werke O. S.s (Zürich, 1997).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire