Zemlinsky, Alexander von

BORN 14 Oct 1871, Wien - DIED 16 Mar 1942, Larchmont, New York
CAUSE OF DEATH consumption
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 33 G, Nummer 71)

Alexander von Zemlinsky started piano lessons aged four. In 1884 he was admitted to the prepatory school of the Conservatory in Vienna and in 1890 he won the nearly piano contest at the Conservatory. Subsequently he studied with Johann Nepomuk Fuchs and with Franz Krenn.

In 1895 he started an amateur orchestra, Polyhymnia. There he met Arnold Schönberg. He gave him cello lessons and they remained friends for the rest of their lives. In 1899 he was engaged at the Carltheater and in the same year he converted his religion from Jewish to Protestant, which had a positive impact on his career. From 1904 until 1911 he was conductor at the Volksoper and in 1907-1908 he was also conducting at the Hofoper. In Vienna he taught piano and composition to the young Alma Schindler and he fell madly in love with her. She was attracted to him as well (although she thought he looked ugly), but their affair was probably never consumated because she was afraid to become pregnant.

In 1907 he married Ida Guttmann (1880-1929), a younger sister of his former fiancee Melanie. In 1908 a daughter was born, Ida. But the maariage wasn't happy and he had many affairs with other women. In 1911 he moved to Prague to become conductor at the Neues Deutsches Theater. In 1914 the fourteen year old Luise Sachsel (1900-1992) studied singing with him and painted his portrait. When she was in her twenties they fell in love, but he didn't leave Ida because of her bad health.

In 1927 he continued his career in Berlin ar the Kroll Oper. Ida died in 1929 and he married Luise in 1930. From 1930 until 1933 he was a guest conductor at the Berlin State Opera, but when the nazis came to power they fled to Vienna. In 1938 moved on to Prague and then to the United States, where they arrived on Ellis Island on December 23th, 1938. But Zemlinsky's health was failing and he didn't succeed in learning English. They lived in poor circumstances and he died in 1942 in Larchmont.

Luise took care of his musical heritage and continued her painting. In 1985 she accompanied his ashes to a grave at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna. She died in Manhattan in 1992.

Related persons
• was painted by Gerstl, Richard
• was teacher of Mahler, Alma
• had a love affair with Mahler, Alma
• was teacher of Schönberg, Arnold

11/2/1900Premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky's "Frühlingsbegräbnis" at the Musikverein in Vienna. It was a cantata in memory of Johannes Brahms. At this occasion Zemlinsky met Alma Schindler for the first time. [Brahms, Johannes][Mahler, Alma]
16/5/1906Austrian premiere of "Salomé" by Richard Strauss in Graz. "Salome" had premiered shortly before in Dresden. The Austrian premiere took place in Graz because the censor in Vienna didn't approve. Jenny Korb sang the title part. Strauss himself conducted and Gustav and Alma Mahler were in the public. Puccini was also there. The performance was a huge succes. [Berg, Alban][Mahler, Alma][Mahler, Gustav][Puccini, Giacomo][Schönberg, Arnold][Strauss, Richard]


The grave of Alexander von Zemlinsky at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (20 sep 2004)


• Budig, Robert S. et al, Ehrengräber am Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Compress Verlag Wien, Wien
ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY. Part 1: The Man | Basia con fuoco

Zeppelin, Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von

Published: 15 Sep 2007
Last update: 10 Mar 2024