Silbermann, Alphons

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SILBERMANN, ALPHONS (1909–2000), German lawyer, sociologist, and musicologist. Born in Cologne, Silbermann was music critic of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant from 1933. He escaped the Nazi regime, fleeing through Holland and France and reaching Australia in 1937. Silbermann became a lecturer at the State Conservatory of Music in Sydney. From 1952 he was director of socio-musical research at the French broadcasting service in Paris. In 1959 Silbermann returned to Germany as professor at the University of Cologne. His numerous publications dealing with sociology, music education, and music therapy (among other topics), include Introduction à une sociologie de la musique (1955); Wovon lebt die Musik? (1957, translated into several languages); Das imaginaere Tagebuch des Herrn Jacques Offenbach (1960, 1991); "Zur Neubelebung der Soziologie der Kunste," in Hamburger-Jahrbuch-fuer-Musikwissenschaft (9 (1986), 67–85); "Zum Einfluss deutschsprachiger Emigranten auf das Musikleben Australiens," in Zu den Antipoden vertrieben: Das Australien-Exil deutschsprachiger Musiker. (2000), 112–117. He also participated in several publications on Judaism, including Deutsche Juden heute. Mit Beiträgen von Robert Neumann, Alphons Silbermann, Ludwig Marcuse, Hermann Kesten (1975). In 1989 a special publication was dedicated to him: Kunst-Kommunikation-Kultur: Festschrift zum 80. Geburtstag von Alphons Silbermann.

His autobiography Verwandlungen (1989) is written with the wit and candor that made him admired and honored by his students and colleagues.


G. Chase, "American Musicology and the Social Sciences," in: Perspectives in Musicology (1972), 202–20; E.K. Scheuch, "In Memoriam Alphons Silbermann (1909–2000)," in: Communications, 25:2 (2000), 210–224.

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]