Mathias Jacob Friedrich Armin Loos, known as Armin, was born in Darmstadt, Germany, on February 20, 1904. Loos's father was a prominent bank director in Dresden and wanted his son to pursue a career in finance. Therefore Armin's education included a degree in jurisprudence from the University of Dresden as well as studies at the Universities of Berlin and Geneva. In the fall of 1924 he studied at the École Supériere de Commerce in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and in the fall of 1926 he attended a 12-week course at Pitman's School (a business school) in London. His musical training included composition lessons with Paul Buttner in Dresden.
In 1928 Loos came to the United States after a tour of Europe. He was to prepare for a career in banking and arrived with recommendations from German bankers in hand. It was in this year that he published a book in Germany entitled The First Mortgage Gold-Bond of the German Mortgage Banks . In spite of these accomplishments Loos decided to remain in New York, marry, and devote his time to composing. Here Loos taught himself the 12-tone system, and in 1938 he won second prize in a W.P.A.-sponsored choral competition in which William Schuman received first prize, David Diamond third, and Elliott Carter fifth. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940.
The Depression made it impossible for Loos to earn a living as a composer, and in 1940 he went to New Britain, Connecticut, to work in his father-in-law's store, Bloomberg's Curtain Shop. He retired in 1962 after his second heart attack and devoted himself to music until his death on March 23, 1971. He composed many works during this period, and revised many older ones. Loos's enthusiasm and talent were far-reaching. He gave music lectures in his home from 1963 to 1970, and wrote program notes for the New Britain Symphony Orchestra.
Unfortunately, Loos heard only a few of his pieces performed. Many of his works have been performed since his death, thanks to the efforts of his widow, Elizabeth Loos. An Armin Loos Memorial Fund was established to promote the performance of his works. Loos's Aquarius '70 was performed by the Berkshire Music Center Orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller on August 16, 1979. His Sonata for Violin and Piano (1971) was performed by members of the Composer's Guild for Performance at Columbia University on April 12, 1979.
From the guide to the The Armin Loos Papers, 1918-1979 (inclusive), (Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University)