Mahler, Alma

BORN 31 Aug 1879, Wien - DIED 11 Dec 1964, New York City, New York
BIRTH NAME Schindler, Alma Margaretha Maria
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Grinzinger Friedhof, 19., An den langen Lüssen 33 (Gruppe 06, Reihe 6, Nummer 7)

Daughter of landscape painter Emil Jacob Schindler. She became a friend of Gustav Klimt when she was seventeen years old. Klimt een followed the family to Italy, but he told her that he couldn't marry her because he had other obligations and he suffered from syphillis. After Alma's mother discovered that Klimt had actually kissed her the affair was put to an end. When she was nineteen years old she was taught composition by Josef Labor.

In 1900 she met Alexander von Zemlinsky during the premiere of his "Frühlingsbegräbnis" at the Wiener Musikverein. He became her music teacher and under his guidance she composed a series of 'Lieder'. Their fascination for each other resulted in a love affair. He wanted to marry her, but he expected from her that she would withdraw from the public eye. She decided against him and married the court opera director Gustav Mahler.

Mahker forced her to give up composition. They had two daughters, Maria and Anna. Maria died in 1907. Around 1910 the marriage was falling apart. When Mahler found out that she had an affair with Walter Gropius he visited Freud in Leiden for relation therapy. However, the marriage was doomed and Mahler died in 1911. Alma now started an affair with the painter Kokoschka, who portrayed her at his painting "Die Windsbraut" ("The Bride of the Wind") in 1914. In 1915 she married Gropius after all. they had a daughter, Manon, but they separated after she had a son by Franz Werfel in 1918. The child was born two months early after a wild night of passion and because it was sickly Alma concluded that Werfel had to be the father. The child died after ten months.

In 1921 Alban Berg dedicated his opera "Wozzeck" to Alma. She married the chain smoking Werfel in 1929. In 1932 she had an affair with theology professor Johannes Hollnsteiner. In 1934 Manon suddenly became violently ill and she was paralyzed within a day. It turned out that she had polio and she died suddenly in 1935.

At the end of the 1930's they fled Germany for the nazis and went to the USA. Werfel died in 1945 in California. In 1958 her autobiography was published.

• Mother: Bergen, Anna Sofie
• Father: Schindler, Emil Jakob
• Daughter: Mahler, Anna Justina
• Husband: Mahler, Gustav (1902-1911, Wien: Karlskirche)
• Husband: Werfel, Franz (1929-1945)

Related persons
• visited Bloch-Bauer, Adele
• was a friend of Caruso, Enrico
• was a friend of Klimt, Gustav
• was the lover of Kokoschka, Oskar
• was step-child of Moll, Carl
• was a friend of Nahowski, Helene
• was a friend of Schönberg, Arnold
• was pupil of Zemlinsky, Alexander von
• had a love affair with Zemlinsky, Alexander von

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][Zemlinsky, Alexander von]
7/11/1901First meeting between Gustav Mahler and Alma Schindler at the home of Bertha Zuckerkandl. He probably fell in love with her immediately because he asked her to marry him on 28 november. [Mahler, Gustav]
19/12/1901Gustav Mahler orders his future wife Alma to give up composing. He was to marry her and he made his request by writing her a letter. In her diary Alma wrote that her heart stood still. She cried but quickly recovered afterwards. [Mahler, Gustav]
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, Gustav][Puccini, Giacomo][Schönberg, Arnold][Strauss, Richard][Zemlinsky, Alexander von]
13/10/1940The ship Nea Hellas reaches New York. It was the last official ship from Lisbon New York in 1940. On board were Franz Werfel, Anna Mahler-Werfel, Heinrich Mann, Nelly Mann, Golo Mann, Wilhelm Ellenbogen, Otto Leichter, Erna Sailer and Alfred Polgar. [Ellenbogen, Wilhelm][Mann, Heinrich][Polgar, Alfred][Werfel, Franz]


The grave of Alma Mahler at the Grinzinger Friedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (29 Aug 2002)


The grave of Alma Mahler at the Grinzinger Friedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (29 Aug 2002)


NRC Handelsblad, Dagbladunie, Rotterdam
ALMA : Biografie
Kulturregister 19. Jh, Gustav Mahler - Amerika
ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY. Part 1: The Man | Basia con fuoco
Alexander von Zemlinsky – Wikipedia
Alma Mahler-Werfel – Wikipedia

Mahler, Anna Justina

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 10 Mar 2024