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Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith

November 16, 1895, Hanau – December 28, 1963

Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.

Hindemith was taught the violin as a child, became deputy leader of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra (1914) and was promoted to leader in 1917. In 1921 he founded the Amar Quartet, playing viola, and extensively toured Europe.

Hindemith is one of the principal German composers of the first half of the 20th century and a leading musical theorist. He sought to revitalize tonality—the traditional harmonic system that was being challenged by many other composers—and also pioneered in the writing of Gebrauchsmusik, or “utility music,” compositions for everyday occasions. He regarded the composer as a craftsman (turning out music to meet social needs) rather than as an artist (composing to satisfy his own soul). As a teacher of composition he probably exerted an influence on most of the composers of the generation that followed him.

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