Walter Bricht

Vienna, 1904 – 1970, New York

Bricht’s parents were the noted Hugo Wolf interpreter Agnes Pyllemann-Bricht and music critic Balduin Bricht. From 1923, Bricht studied composition, piano, and conducting with Franz Schmidt at the mdw, and from 1932 to 1934 was an executive member of the Austrian Composers’ League. Much valued as a pianist, he was also recognized as a composer with highly regarded performances of his works by the Rosé Quartet and a symphony scheduled for performance by the Vienna Philharmonic. All such plans were halted with Hitler’s “annexation” of Austria. Rather than accept the offer of becoming an “honorary Aryan,” Bricht immigrated to America. His documents were confiscated upon departure. He arrived with no English, but was soon teaching at Mason College of Music in West Virginia. He returned to New York in 1944, and in 1963 was offered a professorship at Indiana University’s School of Music. Most of his forty opus numbers date prior to the Nazi takeover of Austria. He was popular as both a teacher and performer. 

Further links:

Michael Haas: Walter Bricht’s “Scattered Leaves” return to Vienna