Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schönberg

1874 (Vienna) – 1951 (Los Angeles)

Schoenberg was substantially self-taught, though Zemlinsky, met at age 20, was an important mentor, and Mahler considered him his protégé. He was backed by Strauss for a teaching post, while Kandinsky enthusiastically included his paintings and writings in Blaue Reiter ventures. Milhaud (who visited with Poulenc) and Varèse were strong and admiring friends. Berg, Webern, Eisler, Cage and Harrison were among his students. Mann, a Los Angeles friend, modelled a fictional composer partly on Schoenberg, leading to a famous spat. He told Brecht how a donkey taught him, and played tennis with Gershwin.

Arnold Schoenberg knew…

Karlheinz Stockhausen

1928 (Mödrath, Germany) – 2007 (Kürten)

Stockhausen was one of the most influential composers of the generation following WWII. He studied with Martin in Germany, and (following a crucial meeting in Darmstadt with Goeyvaerts) with Milhaud, who disappointed him, and Messiaën in France (where he also met Boulez and Xenakis and worked in Schaeffer’s studio). He wrote to Hesse as a father-figure, credited Nono with setting him on course to be a composer, and assisted and succeeded Eimert. Paik, Kagel and Ligeti were fellow-members of the Köln avant-garde scene, while Cardew, Lachenmann, Volans, Young and Eötvös were among his many students.

Karlheinz Stockhausen knew…

Anton Reicha

Reicha, Antonin;Reicha, Antoine;Rejcha, Antonín

1770 (Prague) – 1836 (Paris)

Beethoven and Reicha became lifelong friends when they met as 15-year-old musicians in Reicha’s uncle’s orchestra. Neefe was also in the orchestra, and it is thought may have taught them both. Reicha took lessons in Vienna from Salieri, Albrechtsberger and Michael Haydn, and was a devoted friend to the aged Joseph Haydn, whom he’d met in Bonn and Hamburg before Vienna, and to whom he introduced Cherubini. Liszt (in his teens), Berlioz, Gounod, Onslow and Franck were among his students at the Paris Conservatoire. Mendelssohn also encountered him in Paris, disparaging him as ‘the wild huntsman.’

Roland Barthes

1915 (Cherbourg, France) – 1980 (Paris)

Barthes let Perec sit in on his seminars, as a writer not a student, and later sent him his manuscripts for comment. Bataille was the first to publish Barthes; Camus also printed his essays in the journal ‘Combat.’ Kristeva was a doctoral student of his, and wrote an essay on him. He described Butor as an “epitome of structuralism”, launched a review ‘Arguments’ with Duvignaud, was drawn by his friend Klossowski, and wrote about his close friend Sollers. Foucault, another of his intimates, nominated him for an academic chair. He attended Benveniste’s seminars, greatly valuing his friendship and modesty.

Georg Joseph Vogler

Abbé Vogler

1749 (Pleibach, Germany) – 1814 (Darmstadt)

Vogler studied under Martini. Meyerbeer and Weber were his students in Darmstadt. Mozart, who met him in Mannheim and roundly disparaged him, said that his book was more useful for teaching arithmetic than music.

El Lissitzky

Eliezer Lissitzky;Lazar Markovich Lissitzky;Eleazar Markovich Lisitskii

1890 (Pochinok, Smolensk, Russia) – 1941 (Moscow)

He was a disciple of Chagall’s in Vitebsk, but ultimately sided with his mentor and friend Malevich against him. His friend Schwitters, with van Doesburg, joined him in promoting an International of Art. Ehrenburg lent him a camera to photograph the Eiffel Tower, started a magazine with him, and reported Gabo, Shklovsky, Altman, Mayakovsky, Archipenko and him fighting furiously after a lecture by Puni. He taught with Tatlin and Moholy-Nagy, and met le Corbusier, Léger and Mondrian while on holiday. Taueber-Arp and his old collaborators Arp and Stam collected him when he arrived in Switzerland for TB treatment.

Bertolt Brecht

Bertold Brecht;Berthold Brecht

1898 (Augsburg, Germany) – 1956 (Berlin)

Feuchtwanger was a friend and mentor to Brecht, who sharpened his teeth in Reinhardt’s and Piscator’s theatres. Eisler (a lifelong friend) and Weill were among his most celebrated collaborators. Heartfield acknowledged his longtime friend’s influence, while Herzfelde published his work, and joined in setting up an anti-fascist publishing house in New York. Hindemith collaborated and quarreled with him, Grosz and Döblin were friends, Lenya one of his performers, Tretyakov a translator and populariser of his work, and Chaplin and Auden among those he met in America. Weigel married him, and ran the Berliner Ensemble after his death.

Antonin Artaud

1896 (Marseille) – 1948 (Ivry-s-Seine)

Artaud played the part of Marat in Gance’s film ‘Napoleon’, and the monk Massin in Dreyer’s film ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc.’ He started the Théâtre Alfred Jarry with Vitrac, and frequented Masson’s studio and Prévert’s apartment. Although he left (or was excommunicated from) the Surrealist group, he and Breton were again on speaking terms 10 years later. He corresponded with Barrault, who was vocal in support of his banned radio-play. He played the title-role in a play by Desnos, who also interceded with the director of the asylum where Artaud was given electric-shock treatment.