German pianist, conductor, and composer; b. Freiburg im Breisgau, Dec. 26,1879; d. Singen am Hohentweil, Dec. 22, 1950. He began piano lessons at 9 with Seyffart, and later studied composition with Rheinberger in Munich (1892). He received advanced piano training from Dimmler in Freiburg im Breisgau (1893) and took courses at the Univ. of Lausanne; he also studied composition with Bussmeyer, von Herzogenberg in Berlin (1898-99), and Thuille in Munich (1899-1902). He was active as a pianist and conductor in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1906, where he founded (with E. Doflein) the Musikseminar in 1930, subsequently serving as a teacher of harmony and as director of the piano master class; after retiring in 1939, he devoted himself fully to composition. He received the Beethoven Prize (1930), the Bach Prize of Leipzig (1939), and the Ehrenbürgerrecht of Freiburg im Breisgau (1939); was made an honorary prof, by the government (1936) and by the state of Baden (1950). The Julius Weismann Archive was founded in his memory in Duisburg in 1954.
dramatic: Opera: Schwanenweiss (1919-20; Duisburg, Sept. 29,1923); Ein Traumspiel (1922-24; Duisburg, 1925); Léonce und Lena (Mannheim, 1924); Regina del lago (Karlsruhe, 1928); Die Gespenstersonate (1929-30; Munich, Dec. 19, 1930); Die pfiffige Magd (1937-38; Leipzig, Feb. 11, 1939). Ballet: Tanzphantasie (1910; orchestrated from the piano piece); Die Landsknechte: Totentanz (1936); Sinfonisches Spiel (1937). ORCH.: 3 piano concertos (1909-10, rev. 1936; 1941-42;1942-48); 4 violin concertos (1910-11; 1929; 1942; 1943); Suite for Piano and Orch. (1927); Concerto for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Timpani, and Strings (1930); Horn Concerto (1935); Cello Concerto (1941-3); 2 syms. (1940,1940); Theme, Variations and Fugue for Trautonium and Orch. (1943; also for Violin and Piano); Musik for Bassoon and Orch. (1947). CHAMBER: Piano Quintet (1902); 13 string quartets (1905; 1907; 1910; Fantastischer Reigen, 1913; 1914; 1918-22; 1922; 1929; Fugue, 1931; 1932; 1940; 1943-5; 1947); 3 piano trios (1908-09; 1916; 1921); 4 violin sonatas (1909; 1917; 1917, arranged for Clarinet and Piano, 1941; 1921); Flute Sonata (1941); Sonatina concertante for Cello and Piano (1941; also for Cello and Chamber Orch.); Trio for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1942); Theme, Variations and Fugue for Violin and Piano (1943; also for Trautonium and Orch.); Viola Sonata (1945); various other chamber works; piano pieces. VOCAL: Macht hoch die Tür, Christmas cantata for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1912); Psalm XC for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1912); Der Wächterruf for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1947-50); various men’s and women’s choruses; solo songs.
F. Herzfeld, J. W. und seine Generation (Duisburg, 1965).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire