Krenek, Ernst

Krenek, Ernst

biographical name

(born Aug. 23, 1900, Vienna, Austria—died Dec. 23, 1991, Palm Springs, Calif., U.S.) Austrian-born U.S. composer. He studied composition from age 16 with Franz Schreker (1878–1934) and first gained attention with his atonal Second Symphony (1923). After a brief Neoclassical phase, he reestablished his radical credentials with the jazz-influenced satiric opera Johnny Strikes up the Band! (1926), which created a sensation. Intrigued by Arnold Schoenberg's 12-tone method (see serialism), he devised his own version—which involved “rotation” of the set's order—for the opera Karl V (1933), the first 12-tone opera. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1937 and taught at several institutions, but his large body of work remained more highly esteemed in Europe.

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