Ringer, Alexander L.

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RINGER, ALEXANDER L. (1921–2002), U.S. musicologist. Born in Berlin, Ringer was educated in Berlin and Amsterdam. Ringer was interned in the *Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1943–44. After World War ii he emigrated to the U.S., where he received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1955. He held positions at various American universities until he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, where he was made professor in 1963, and remained until his retirement. In 1964 he was invited by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to lay the groundwork for the first Department of Musicology in Israel. He was a founder and honorary member of the International Kodaly Society and general editor (together with others) of the collected edition of Schoenberg's writings. Among his diverse research interests was his search for elements of "Jewishness" in the music of well-known Western Jewish musicians, such as *Mahler, *Mendelssohn, *Milhaud, E. *Bloch, *Kirchner, *Rochberg, and, in particular, Kurt *Weill and Arnold *Schoenberg, who received special attention in Ringer's writings. He was also a great believer in music education. The figure who had most influenced his thinking and attitude in this respect was the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, the initiator of a special method of teaching music.

Ringer represented a higher type of intellectual with wide learning and command of major European languages, and a versatile musicologist who was distinguished by a strongly individual character which impressed itself on everything he wrote. His 167 works spanned an incredible range of subjects, including many synthetic studies on historically, culturally, and esthetically important trends and styles, and sociological issues affecting music. Among his major works are The Early Romantic Era: Between Revolutions, 1789 and 1848 (1990); A. Schoenbergthe Composer as Jew (1990); Musik als Geschichte; and his last book, published posthumously: Arnold Schoenberg: Das Leben im Werk (2002).


New Grove, s. v.; A. Shiloah, in: Musica Judaica, 16 (2001–02), 99–108.

[Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]