Alexander von Zemlinsky

Austrian composer, conductor and teacher Alexander von Zemlinsky was born in Vienna on 14 October 1871. He studied piano when very young, and played organ at synagogue. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory - piano with Anton Door, theory with Robert Fuchs and composition with Johann Nepomuk Fuchs and Anton Bruckner.

Johannes Brahms was impressed with Zemlinsky's music and recommended him to publisher Simrock. Zemlinsky was also close to Arnold Schoenberg, who became his brother-in-law.

Zemlinsky's Symphony No 2 was successfully performed in Vienna in 1897, and Gustav Mahler conducted his opera Es war einmal three years later. He was Kapellmeister first at the Carltheater and later at the Volksoper, both in Vienna. Later he conducted at the Deutsches Landestheater in Prague and worked for Otto Klemperer as a conductor at the Kroll Opera in Berlin.

When the Nazi Party came to power, he fled, first to Vienna and then to New York, but was largely ignored there, became ill and died in Larchmont on 15 March 1942, aged seventy.


A selection of articles about Alexander von Zemlinsky

Ensemble. Old and New - Giuseppe Pennisi returns to the Chigiana Festival

CD Spotlight. Truly Exciting - Music by Alexander von Zemlinsky and Franz Schreker, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Petrenko has this music in his blood, and the performances have a sweep and power that keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.'

CD Spotlight. Worthy of Brahms - Chamber music by Marteau and Zemlinsky, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. '... never boring, but full blooded and passionate. All the players have complex passages and are equal partners.'

Ensemble. Dynamic Performances - Vladimir Jurowski conducts Zemlinsky and Mahler, appreciated by Giuseppe Pennisi

CD Spotlight. A Sonic Discovery - Orchestral music by Alexander Zemlinsky, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra responds superbly to John Storgårds ...'

CD Spotlight. Irrepressible Delights - Piano trios from the 1890s, heard by Howard Smith. '... compelling feeling and technical assurance ...'

Ensemble. Decadent and Sarcastic - A Zemlinsky-Puccini double bill in Turin, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi

CD Spotlight. Wondrous Music - Cuarteto Casals, heard by Robert Anderson. '... impeccable ensemble, just intonation, a rich variety of tone colours, and a youthful freshness of approach.'

Ensemble. Life and Death - Zemlinksy's 'Der König Kandaules', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi

Ensemble. Sensuous Depths - A selection of orchestral concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall, heard by Bill Newman

CD Spotlight. Consummate Artists - Zemlinsky and Messiaen from Ensemble Liaison, recommended by Howard Smith. 'Melba's spot-on quartet recording ... fares brilliantly ...'

CD Spotlight. Positively Spellbinding - Music for clarinet, piano and cello, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... a fine recording ...'

Ensemble. For King, Country and Sex - Marco Tutino's 'Senso', experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi

New Year Blues - A roundup of recent London concerts by Bill Newman

Ensemble. A Top-notch Formation - Operas by Zemlinsky and Puccini, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi

Ensemble. Seething with Evil - Franz Schreker's 'Die Gezeichneten', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi

Ensemble. Of Purest Heart - An unusual double bill at LA Opera impresses Maria Nockin

Ensemble. Distant Sound - LA Opera's 'Recovered Voices', reviewed by Maria Nockin

Ensemble. Lustrous Sounds - Kurt Weill's 'The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny', reviewed by Maria Nockin

Ensemble. A veritable wonder - Zemlinsky and Schreker at the Vienna Volksoper, appreciated by David Wilkins

CD Spotlight - Poignant beauty. 'The performances are warm and sympathetic, making a good case for this composer's wider recognition.' The orchestral songs of Zemlinsky, with Patric Standford