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Alexander Zemlinsky (10/14/1871 - 3/15/1942)

The Austrian composer and conductor Alexander von Zemlinsky was born in Vienna in 1871. His reputation has to some extent been overshadowed by the controversial and influential achievements of his brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg, with Alban Berg and Anton Webern, on the one hand, and by those of his older contemporary Gustav Mahler. Zemlinsky continues the tradition of Viennese classicism, the influence of Wagner never leading him to abandon tonality. In some measure he represents a generation of Viennese composers who were able to combine the apparently divergent tendencies of Brahms and Wagner.

Zemlinsky was trained at the Vienna Conservatory, where he was a composition pupil of Johann Nepomuk Fuchs, himself a pupil of Sechter, who had taught Schubert briefly, and of Bruckner, in the intervals of writing his daily fugue. Always a fine craftsman, Zemlinsky was able to instruct Schoenberg, whom he met in the amateur orchestra Polyhymnia in 1895, in counterpoint, and gave him advice on his earlier work. He was to remain for some time a strong influence both on Schoenberg and on younger composers in Vienna. He also taught Alma Schindler, later the wife of Mahler, who in 1897 became conductor at the Court Opera in Vienna



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