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Hermann Scherchen (1891 - 1966)

Largely self-taught as a musician, Hermann Scherchen joined the Blüthner Orchestra as a viola player in 1907, and played with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from 1907 to 1910. A performance in 1911 of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 under Oskar Fried, in which he participated with the Blüthner Orchestra, left a deep impression. During the same year he assisted Schoenberg in the preparation for performance of Pierrot Lunaire, and made his debut conducting this work on the tour that followed its first performance in Berlin. Scherchen conducted Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in Berlin in 1914, the year in which he was appointed conductor of the Riga Symphony Orchestra; however, following the outbreak of World War I he was interned and remained in Riga throughout the war. During this period of enforced confinement he learnt Russian, taught and composed.




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