Franz Schreker

23/03/1878 Monako, 21/03/1934 Berlín  

Franz Schreker was the eldest son of a Jewish father who had converted to Catholicism, while his mother was a member of the Catholic aristocracy in Styria. In the wake of his father’s death, the family moved to Vienna, where in 1892 Franz enrolled at the conservatory to study the violin and composition. In 1895, while still a student, he began conducting. In 1912, his opera Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound) premiered in Frankfurt to great acclaim, following which Schreker was offered a teaching post at the Vienna Music Academy, where in 1913 he was named full professor. His most successful pieces include the opera Der Schatzgräber (The Treasure Seeker) and the Kammersymphonie (Chamber Symphony). In 1920, Schreker was appointed director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he taught the composers Alois Hába, Ernst Křenek and other gifted artists. The spread of Nazism and anti-Semitism in Germany brought an end to the career of Schreker, who in the 1920s had enjoyed great popularity, with his works having been the most frequently performed after those of Richard Strauss. In the wake of losing all his positions and after his music had been banned, he suffered a stroke and soon died.