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Ultra-Modern Composer Says He Hopes to Learn From His American Pupils
Puts Ban on Imitators
His Students Are Asked Only Express Themselves, He Tells Interviewers

Arnold Schönberg, one of the world’s foremost composers and teachers, said yesterday in an interview at the Hotel Ansonia that he had high hopes of encountering fine musical talents in this country. He looked forward not only to the opportunity to guide some of America’s young composers to a fuller expression of themselves but to the learning of new and enriching things from the contact with them.
Mr. Schönberg, who arrived on Tuesday from Europe to take up his duties as teacher of harmony and composition at the Malkin Conservatory of Boston, has never been in this country before. He is a small man, shy and extremely modest, with a sensitive face and expressive brown eyes. He spoke some English and some German yesterday. He admitted studying English in school forty-five years ago, but has had very little occasion to use it since.
A full program is being arranged for the composer’s first weeks in this country. He takes up his professorial duties in Boston on Monday. He also will come to New York every Friday to teach. Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, outstanding patron of music, is sponsoring a program of all-Schönberg music in Washington tomorrow at the Library of Congress.
On Nov. 9 and 10 there will be concerts and receptions for him at Yale and Harvard respectively under Mrs. Coolidge’s auspices. The League of Composers is presenting a Schönberg program at the Town Hall Club in this city on Nov. 11 and the composer will lecture at the New School for Social Research on Nov. 14 in English on materials gleaned from his writings and speeches.

Tells of His Teaching Methods.

Speaking of his teaching methods, Mr. Schönberg said that he has always insisted that his students seek only to express themselves. Imitation of his own music is strictly forbidden. He has also required a thorough grounding in the classics, he added.
Regarding his own music, Mr. Schönberg’s comment was illuminating:
“I have no style,” he said. “I do not write for the sake of being original. I cannot help it is my music happens to have this quality. I seek only to express my thoughts and my emotions. My greatest desire is to compress the most substance into the least possible space and time.”
He is searching more and more intensively for concentrated expression, he said. A composition like the “Gurre Lieder” was written in a broad, expansive manner. But that was long ago, he said; now he wanted compactness and intensity.
His most recent compositions, he said, were a concerto for ’cello, which is a free transcription of a clavicembalo concerto by Monn, a contemporary of Bach; a transcription for string quartet of a concerto grosso by Handel, a new opera, “Moses and Aaron.” The opera is based on the Biblical story, the libretto by the composer himself. Two acts are completed, and Mr. Schönberg expects to finish the third soon as he gets several months’ leisure.

Rarely Attends Concerts.

Mr. Schönberg was asked how he felt about the occasional hissing of his compositions. He smiled somewhat sadly, then said that he rarely attended concerts and his instinct had kept him away from most of the performances where there were hostile demonstrations. But he considered these offensive.
He had words of praise for a number of his contemporaries – Ravel, Bartok, Hindemith, among many, and told of the work being done by some of his outstanding pupils: Alban Berg is writing a new opera called “Lulu” and Anton von Webern is composing a new piano concerto.
Mr. Schönberg expects to lecture and conduct as well as teach here. Serge Koussevitzky said recently that he would invite him to conduct a pair of concerts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in his own music. The composer is here with his wife, his eighteen-months-old daughter, Nuria, and a terrier named Witz, German for jest. He plans to stay here throughout the season and perhaps longer.

The New York Times (November 2, 1933)