Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896-1978

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1896-07-20
Death 1978-08-01
Americans
English, German

Biographical notes:

Rudolf Kolisch (b. July 20, 1896 in Klamm, Lower Austria; d. August 1, 1978 in Watertown, Massachusetts) was a prominent Viennese-American violinist and string quartet player. His Kolisch Quartet gave seminal performances and premieres of chamber music that included compositions by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern. In 1935, Kolisch immigrated to the United States, where he developed a parallel career as a professor of music at the University of Wisconsin, the New England Conservatory of Music, and other institutions.

From the description of Rudolf Kolisch collection, 1921-1943. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 544474908

The violinist Rudolf Kolisch was born in Klamm, Austria, in 1896. He studied violin, composition and musicology in Vienna, and was close to the circle around his teacher Schoenberg (who married Kolisch's sister Gertrud in 1924). Kolisch's quartet was founded in 1922; first known as the Wiener Streichquartett, then Kolisch Quartett, it became internationally known as one of the protagonists of the Second Viennese School . Bartok, Berg, Webern, and Schoenberg entrusted them with the first performances of many of their works. In 1939, while touring the USA, the quartet in its original formation disbanded. In 1944, after years of struggle, Kolisch became the primarius of the Pro Arte Quartet, in residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and later joined the faculty at the School of Music. In 1967 he left that position for the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he taught until his death in 1978. (For additional biographical information, see Claudia Maurer Zenck, "Was sonst kann ein Mensch denn machen, als Quartett zu spielen? Rudolf Kolisch und seine Quartette. Versuch einer Chronik der Jahre 1921-1944," in Österreichische Musikzeitschrift no. 53 (1998), p. 8ff.).

From the guide to the Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Rudolf Kolisch was a concert violinist, founder of the Wiener Streichquartett (later Kolisch Quartett), 1922, and a member of the Pro Arte Quartet from 1944; taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston. He died in 1978.

From the description of Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978 (inclusive), 1917-1978 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612452820

From the description of Rudolf Kolisch additional papers, ca. 1926-1964. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612780101

Biographical Note

Rudolf Kolisch (1896-1978) was a prominent Viennese-American violinist and string quartet player who played his instrument left-handed as a result of a childhood injury. His Kolisch Quartet gave seminal performances and premieres of chamber music that included compositions by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern. In 1935, Kolisch immigrated to the United States, where he developed a parallel career as a professor of music at the University of Wisconsin, the New England Conservatory of Music, and other institutions.

  • 1896 July 20: Born in Klamm, Austria
  • 1913: Graduates from Vienna Music Academy and Vienna University
  • 1919: Studies composition with Arnold Schoenberg
  • 1919 - 1921 : Plays a leading role in Schoenberg's "Verein für Musikalische Privataufführungen" (Society for Private Musical Performances)
  • 1921: Forms the Wiener Streichquartett (Rudolf Kolisch, Fritz Rothschild, Marcel Dick, Joachim Stutschewsky)
  • 1924: Arnold Schoenberg marries Kolisch's sister, Gertrud
  • 1927: Forms the Kolisch Quartett (Rudolf Kolisch, Felix Khuner, Eugene Lehner, Benar Heifetz)
  • 1935: Kolisch Quartett immigrates to the United States and makes its American debut performance at the Library of Congress
  • 1939: Kolisch Quartett disbands
  • 1939: Begins teaching at the New School for Social Research, New York
  • 1943: Publishes his best known article, Tempo and character in Beethoven's music
  • 1944: Becomes first violinist of Pro Arte Quartet
  • 1944: Begins teaching at the University of Wisconsin
  • 1953 - 1958 : Teaches at the Akademie für Tonkunst and Ferienkurse für neue Musik in Darnstadt, Germany
  • 1967: Begins teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston
  • 1974 - 1977 : Teaches chamber music performance at the annual Schoenberg Seminars in Mödling, Austria
  • 1978 Aug. 1: Dies in Watertown, Massachusetts

From the guide to the Rudolf Kolisch Collection, 1921-1943, (Music Division Library of Congress)

The violinist Rudolf Kolisch was born in Klamm, Austria, in 1896. He studied violin, composition and musicology in Vienna, and was close to the circle around his teacher Schoenberg (who married Kolisch's sister Gertrud in 1924). Kolisch's quartet was founded in 1922; first known as the Wiener Streichquartett, then Kolisch Quartett, it became internationally known as one of the protagonists of the Second Viennese School. Bartok, Berg, Webern, and Schoenberg entrusted them with the first performances of many of their works. In 1939, while touring the USA, the quartet in its original formation disbanded. In 1944, after years of struggle, Kolisch became the primarius of the Pro Arte Quartet, in residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and later joined the faculty at the School of Music. In 1967 he left that position for the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he taught until his death in 1978.

[For additional biographical information, see Claudia Maurer Zenck, "Was sonst kann ein Mensch denn machen, als Quartett zu spielen? Rudolf Kolisch und seine Quartette. Versuch einer Chronik der Jahre 1921-1944," in Österreichische Musikzeitschrift no. 53 (1998), p. 8ff.]

From the guide to the Rudolf Kolisch additional papers, 1926-1964., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

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w6tt4pr6
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Subjects:

  • Composers--20th century
  • Songs with piano
  • Music--Performance--History--Sources
  • Music--20th century--History and criticism
  • Exiles--History--20th century
  • Concertos (Violin)
  • String quartets, Arranged
  • Sonatas (Violin and piano)
  • Sonatas (Violin)
  • Chamber music

Occupations:

  • Violinists

Places:

  • Austria (as recorded)
  • Vienna (Austria) (as recorded)
  • German (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Austria (as recorded)