Egon Wellesz

Composer and musicologist; born 21 October 1885 in Vienna, died 9 November 1976 in Oxford.


Often called the ‘forgotten modernist’ (Michael Haas), Egon Wellesz was a renowned composer whose oeuvre spans from the innovative years in early 20th century Vienna, where he studied with Arnold Schönberg for a short period, via the world of modern European opera and ballet in the 1920s to his 37 years in Oxford, where he wrote his cycle of nine symphonies, completed in 1971.

In parallel to his role as a composer, Wellesz was also hugely influential as a musicologist. He studied at Vienna University with Guido Adler and published his doctoral dissertation on Guiseppe Bonn. From 1911 he taught at Vienna University and the New Vienna Conservatoire. In 1921 he published a book about his teacher Arnold Schönberg. Wellesz also undertook extensive research in Byzantine music. In 1929 he became Professor of Musicology in Vienna and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Oxford University in 1932.

In 1938 he emigrated to the UK and began to work at Oxford University in 1939. He was interned on the Isle of Man in 1940, and after that remained in Oxford as a highly respected teacher until the end of his life.

Links and Sources 

Egon Wellesz in the University of Hamburg online database of musicians persecuted during the Nazi Period

Website of the Egon Wellesz-Fonds at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien

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