Pisk, Paul Amadeus

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PISK, PAUL AMADEUS (1893–1990), musicologist, composer, and pedagogue. Born in Vienna, Pisk studied under Arnold *Schoenberg, Schreker, and Guido *Adler and received a doctorate in musicology from the University of Vienna (1916). He attained prominence as a musical journalist and as a spokesman for progressive German and Austrian composers. Pisk served as secretary of Schoenberg's Society (1918–21) and worked as editor for the Musikblätter des Anbruch (1920–28) and the Wiener Arbeiter-Zeitung (1921–34). He was a co-founder of the International Society for Contemporary Music (iscm), and served as director of the music department of the Volkshochschule, Vienna (1922–34). In 1936 he had to immigrate to the United States, becoming a citizen in 1941. He held senior academic posts at various universities, and renewed contact with Schoenberg, *Milhaud, and Hindemith. Pisk composed about 100 works for orchestra, chamber groups and keyboard, dramatic pieces, and choral works. Pisk's compositions tend toward atonality, but do not employ 12-note techniques. Many of them employ folk melodies. Among his publications are a study of the masses of the 16th-century composer Jacobus Gallus (1918) and articles on Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, and modern music. He wrote (with H. Ulrich) History of Music and Musical Style (1963). Through a bequest of his the American Musicological Society established the Paul A. Pisk Prize.

add. bibliography:

Grove online; Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997). J. Glowacki (ed.), Paul A. Pisk: Essays in his Honor (1966).

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]