Egon Lustgarten

Vienna, 1887 – 1961, Syosset, New York

Lustgarten was born in Vienna, where he studied composition and conducting at the Music Academy and musicology at the University. From 1921 to 1938, he taught music theory at Vienna’s New Conservatory and worked as composer, accompanist, chorus conductor, and regular critic. His friend, Dr. Ludwig Thieben, brought him to Anthroposophy, and Lustgarten began composing works for the Anthroposophical expressive movement art called Eurythmy. Lustgarten’s sister-in-law helped him and his wife, Sophie, come to the United States in 1938, the year he composed his opera Dante im Exil (revised in 1952). He became active in New York’s local Anthroposophical community, composing further works for Eurythmy and a number of “Fairytale Operas.” In 1952 he moved back to Vienna where he discovered that he was marginalized and unable to build on his reputation pre-emigration. The estates of his parents and grandparents, “aryanised” by the Nazis, were restored at a fraction of their value, leaving him in financial difficulty. He returned to the United States in 1956 where he lived until his death in 1961.