Walter Bricht

Vienna, 1904 – 1970, New York

Walter Bricht was born as son of the Volkszeitung music critic Balduin Bricht and the highly regarded singer and former pianist child-prodigy, Agnes Pyllemann Bricht. At Vienna’s Music Academy, he became known as the favourite pupil of the composer Franz Schmidt. His works were gaining wide recognition. His orchestral works were championed by the Nazi conductor Leopold Reichwein. It was only with Hitler’s march into Vienna that Bricht suffered the consequences of having three Jewish grandparents, which under Nazi race laws, meant he was completely Jewish, despite the conversion of his parents and grandparents. With many prominent Austrians supportive of Bricht, he was offered the opportunity of becoming an “honorary Aryan”. He instead took the decision to leave the country and immigrate with his wife Ella to the United States. He returned to NY in 1944 where Bricht continued to teach privately. In 1963 he returned to composition, abandoned since leaving Vienna. Until exile, Bricht was a prolific composer and by age 34 achieved considerable recognition. Chamber and piano works were performed by the foremost soloist and ensembles in Vienna. 

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