For more than seventy years, Arnold Schoenberg’s student Egon Wellesz (1885-1974) occupied a position at the center of international musical life. Composer, scholar, critic, teacher, Wellesz was co-founder, with Rudolf Réti, of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), but he was as at home with the tropes of Byzantine church music as he was with the rules of twelve-tone technique; as erudite in his understanding of the music of Ravel and Milhaud as he was staunch in his defense of his teacher (he was Schoenberg’s first biographer); as comfortable in the halls of Lincoln College, Oxford, where he taught from 1940 to 1972, as in his native Vienna. Here was a truly cosmopolitan music figure, one who managed, in a world of swollen egos, to remain on good terms with everyone. And one who, suffering the trials of the Austrian political emigré on the eve of the Second World War, contributed much to the postwar...


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