Hindemith, Paul

Hindemith, Paul

biographical name

(born Nov. 16, 1895, Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, German Empire—died Dec. 28, 1963, Frankfurt am Main, W.Ger.) German composer. His talent was noticed early, and he received thorough training on viola, violin, clarinet, and piano. He became concertmaster of the Frankfurt Opera at age 20, and his compositions began drawing attention at new-music festivals. Because his wife was Jewish and his music was considered “degenerate” by the Nazis, he left Germany in 1938, settling in the U.S. in 1940. Advocating Gebrauchsmusik (“useful music”), he wrote solo sonatas and concertos for many of the standard orchestral instruments. Mathis der Maler (1935) is the best known of his six operas; the symphony based on it, and the Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Weber (1943), are widely performed.

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