UNT concert of rarely heard work honors Schoenberg collection donors

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What: The University of North Texas Music Library will present a rare performance of Georg Schoenberg’s Mein Lebenslauf, a cantata for baritone voice, chamber orchestra and small mixed choir. The performance is being held in honor of a donation of an extensive collection of music, photographs and personal correspondence from famed 20th-century composer Arnold Schoenberg’s oldest living grandson and his wife. This marks only the second performance of the work, which received its world premiere in New York in 2004. 

Pre-concert lecture by Clare Carrasco, doctoral candidate in musicology.

When: 8:15 p.m. Dec. 3 (Saturday)

Where: Voertman Hall, UNT Music Building, southeast corner of Avenue C and Chestnut Street

Cost: Free

Contact: www.music.unt.edu

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas Music Library will present a rare performance of the cantata Mein Lebenslauf by Georg Schoenberg, son of renowned 20th-century composer Arnold Schoenberg. The performance is in celebration of the library’s recently acquired collection of original manuscripts, personal correspondence and photographs donated by Arnold Schoenberg’s oldest living grandson, Arnold Greissle-Schoenberg, and his wife, Nancy Bogen.

Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique of composition revolutionized contemporary music, and now scholars and researchers at UNT will have access to never-before-published materials that offer further insight into the groundbreaking composer’s techniques, said Arturo Ortega, coordinator of acquisitions and processing for the UNT Music Library.

“These materials for scholarly research are priceless,” said Ortega, who also will conduct the upcoming performance of Mein Lebenslauf. “Arnold Schoenberg was one of the foremost composers of the 20th century, and he was such an innovator that there are entire schools of thought and training that revolve around his techniques as a composer.”

Mein Lebenslauf, a cantata for baritone voice, chamber orchestra and small mixed choir composed by Arnold Schoenberg’s son, Georg, will be performed by UNT baritone Christian Bester and a group of performers built around UNT students, alumni and faculty members. The free concert will take place at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 3 (Saturday) in Voertman Hall in the UNT Music Building, southeast corner of Avenue C and Chestnut Street.

This marks only the second performance of Mein Lebenslauf, which was premiered in 2004 by The Lark Ascending at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. A musical autobiography of Georg Schoenberg’s life, Mein Lebenslauf is one of the original manuscripts that will be available to scholars as part of the recently acquired collection from the family.

Greissle-Schoenberg and Bogen plan to attend the Dec. 3 performance and offer preliminary remarks.

"I am pleased and honored that at last my father is about to receive the recognition that he so richly deserves," said Gertrud Supan-Schoenberg, daughter of Georg Schoenberg.

As early as this spring, scholars and researchers will have access to the collection, which consists of about 30 boxes of materials, including errata sheets from Arnold Schoenberg’s famously difficult violin concerto and more. Personal letters between Schoenberg and his children and photographs of the composer with his family shed light on the composer’s family life, Ortega said.

“We have a lot of information about him as a composer but not so much about him as a father figure,” Ortega said. “The photos of him with his children are very rare, of course, because most of the pictures published in books have been of Arnold as a composer, not Arnold as a father.”

This most recent collection of items complements the UNT Music Library’s already existing Schoenberg-Nachod Collection, which the library acquired in 1968. The Schoenberg-Nachod Collection includes letters between Schoenberg and his cousin, Hans Nachod, and music manuscripts in Schoenberg's hand.

About the UNT Music Library

The UNT Music Library is one of the largest academic music collections in the country with more than 300,000 volumes of books, periodicals, scores, dissertations and reference works, as well as nearly 900,000 sound recordings in a variety of formats. Other special collections in the Music Library include manuscripts of Aaron Copland, correspondence of Arnold Schoenberg, recordings and photographs from band leaders Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton, composers Don Gillis and Julia Smith, the George Bragg Boy Choir Music Library, sheet music collections from radio stations WBAP and WFAA, the personal archives of Leon Breeden (director of the UNT Jazz Program for over 20 years) and Willis Conover (jazz DJ on the Voice of America for over forty years), and an ever-expanding collection of recordings and program books from the UNT College of Music.

About the UNT College of Music

The highly comprehensive programs of the UNT College of Music enroll the largest number of music majors of any university in the country. The UNT College of Music is the choice of more than 1,600 music majors from all over the world who are pursuing a wide variety of specializations, including classical music performance, jazz studies, music education, composition, musicology, theory and ethnomusicology.  The college provides a rich musical environment with 100 full-time faculty members, 200 adjuncts and graduate assistants, a vast music library, and more than 40 student ensembles. UNT music alumni populate every corner of the profession in this country and abroad.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108