Wellesz, Egon Joseph
Egon Wellesz. Photo.
Wellesz, Egon (Joseph), b. Vienna, Oct. 21, 1885, d. Oxford (United Kingdom), Nov. 9, 1974. Composer, musicologist. Pupil of A. Schönberg and G. Adler, friend of A. von Webern. Turned away from studying baroque music and took up Byzantine studies from around 1920. Wrote seminal works in this field (1929-1938 university professor in Vienna); 1932 honorary doctorate from Oxford University; emigrated to England in 1938, university professor in Oxford. As a composer he remained faithful to G. Mahler's and R. Strauss' tonal language and used the twelve-tone technique in a free form. Awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize in 1961 and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1971.
Works: 10 works for the stage, including: Alkestis, 1923 (textbook by H. v. Hofmannsthal); Die Bakchantinnen, 1931. - Choir and orchestra music, masses, songs, chamber music. - Writings: A. Schönberg, 1921; Der Beginn des musikalischen Barock und die Anfänge der Oper in Wien, 1922; Byzantinische Kirchenmusik, 1927; Die neue Instrumentation, 2 vols., 1929; A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography, 1949; Die Hymnen der Ostkirchen, 1962. - Co-ed.: Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae, 1935ff.
Literature: R. Schollum, E. W., 1964; G. Schneider, E. W., 1980; autobiography, 1981; C. Cepin Benser, W., 1985; D. Symons, E. W., 1997; H. Heher (ed.), E. W., exhibition catalogue, Vienna 2000; NÖB.
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