Category: Preview

Current Exhibition at the Exilarte Center: Triangel of Viennese Tradition I Zemlinsky – Schönberg – Hoffmann

Inspired by Arnold Schönberg’s 150th birthday, celebrated around the world, the new exhibition at the mdw’s Exilarte Center sheds light on the social and cultural environment of the founder of the Second Viennese School. In particular, attention is paid to Alexander Zemlinsky, who taught Schönberg and introduced him to the Viennese music circles, and to Richard Hoffmann, who was a pupil of Schönberg and later became his assistant.

These three personalities, their professional, friendly and musical connections as well as their fates during the time of the Nazi regime are brought closer using life documents, photos and music manuscripts.

Countless other free spirits of the early 20th century from music, literature, fine arts and architecture as well as wealthy art lovers and patrons met for artistic exchange and lavish festivals in the artists’ colony planned by Josef Hoffmann in what was already the posh 19th district of Vienna. Most of them had Jewish roots and were persecuted by the Nazis. Many were able to emigrate, many died in the concentration camps.

Dazzling personalities such as Alma Mahler-Werfel, Gustav Mahler, Carl Moll, Koloman Moser, Hugo Henneberg, Sigmund Freud, Egon and Emmy Wellesz, Emil and Yella Hertzka, Richard Gerstl, Adolf Loos and Arnold Schönberg inspired one another in this Art Nouveau villa colony, which will be recreated as a model for the exhibition.

Arnold Schönberg was one of the first to emigrate in 1933, Richard Hoffmann in 1935 and Alexander Zemlinksy after the “Anschluss” in 1938… How much does the forced exile change a person, an artist in his work? In the exhibition we take a look at the respective oeuvre before and after fleeing into an uncertain future.

The score for one of Arnold Schönberg’s best-known works, A Survivor from Warsaw, written in the USA in 1947, is contextualised in the exhibition. Alexander Zemlinsky, who had previously written large symphonic works, has almost fallen silent as a result of the persecution: on display are the two song collections that he created in New York from 1938 (op. 27) and 1940 (without op.).

The question of what life in Europe would have been like for millions of people affected without Hitler’s National Socialist racial doctrine can no longer be answered and the loss of artistic potential in Europe as a result cannot be measured. We show the arbitrary bureaucracy with which Jews and people critical of the system were harassed. Documents such as Zemlinsky’s Reich Flight Tax Notice and Alien Registration Receipt Card with fingerprint can be seen in the original.

Zemlinsky and Schönberg managed to escape to the USA by transatlantic steamship, Richard Hoffmann emigrated to New Zealand. Other flight fates, paths to places of exile for women, men and children are reconstructed in the exhibition.

Many composers and musicians from the society around Zemlinsky, Schönberg and Hoffmann did not succeed in finding freedom. They lived underground (e.g. Josef Polnauer, Olga Novakovic and others) or were murdered by the Nazis (e.g. Schönberg’s family members or Schönberg’s friend and publisher Henri Hinrichsen).

“Triangle of the Viennese Tradition” is the title of the connection between three musicians who shared a similar fate as composers, educators and friends: they were of Jewish origin and therefore outcasts and exiles.

Admission free!

Opening hours:

March 05 – December 20, 2024

Tuesday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m

Holidays: closed

Guided Tours

Exilarte Center of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna Lothringerstrasse 18. 1 Floor 1030 Vienna

New Exhibition at the Exilarte Center beginning September 17, 2022: Fritz Kreisler – A Cosmopolitan in Exile. From Child Prodigy to “King of Violinists”

The new exhibition at the Exilarte Center, which will be open to the public starting September 17, 2022, illustrates Kreisler’s family history, his time in Vienna and his special ability to communicate with the media (record companies, newspapers, radio) through numerous pictures, musical materials and life documents. His violin style (in connection with the major concertos and the Beethoven sonatas) is also thematized, as are his arrangements and compositional style. Likewise, the historical component of the expulsion by the Nazi regime based on “racial” reasons is shown and – as is already a tradition of Exilarte exhibitions – the inclusion of other exiled and ostracized violin virtuosos and string quartets of the time (Alma and Arnold Rosé, Carl Flesch, Bronislaw Huberman, Ferdinand Adler, Busch Quartet, Rostal Quartet etc.) is addressed.

Fritz Kreisler (Vienna, 1875 – 1962, New York) was first taught by his father before he entered the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (today mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna) in 1882, where he studied with Josef Hellmesberger Jr. and Anton Bruckner. At the age of seven, he was the youngest child prodigy at this school. After studying in Paris, he went on a successful tour in the USA together with the pianist Moriz Rosenthal in 1888.

An audition with the Vienna Philharmonic was unsuccessful; nevertheless, he was invited to play as a soloist with the orchestra. After further successes with the Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur (Artúr) Nikisch, one of the most brilliant and lucrative solo careers of the time began. In 1910 Kreisler premiered Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto, which was dedicated to him.

When the National Socialists seized power in Germany, performances of the star violinist were accompanied by disruptions and calls for a boycott due to his Jewish ancestry. His compositions were no longer played. Kreisler ended all further concert activities in Germany, but continued to live in his villa in Berlin together with his wife and manager, the American Harriet Lies, who maintained a good relationship with the Nazi-Regime. In 1935 Kreisler was awarded the Ring of Honor by the City of Vienna.

With the so-called “annexation” of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938, Kreisler’s Austrian passport became invalid. After successful efforts to obtain French citizenship, Kreisler found his way into American exile in September 1939, where he settled with his wife in New York and was naturalized in 1943. Kreisler’s last public appearance was in 1949. After his emigration the star violinist never travelled to Europe again. He died in New York in 1962.

This exhibition will be open as of September 17, 2022.

Free admission!

Opening Hours
January 10, 2023 – June 30, 2023

Tuesday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm
Saturday from 1pm – 5pm
Closed on Austrian holidays.

Exilarte Center of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Lothringerstrasse 18
1st floor
1030 Vienna/Austria