8 VI 1894, Prague — 18 VIII 1942, Wülzburg prison camp

BACK

PL  |  DE  |  ENG  | NOUKR

Biography

Erwin Schulhoff was a composer and pianist whose work was inspired by jazz and Dadaism. His compositions were labelled “degenerate” by the Nazis.

Born on 8 June 1894 in Prague, he started his musical education in the Prague Conservatory under the instruction of Antonín Dvořák. He went on to study composition and piano in Vienna, Leipzig, and Cologne, his teachers included Claude Debussy and Max Reger. He gave concerts in Germany, France, and Great Britain, and created works inspired by jazz and Dadaism.

Erwin served in the army during World War I and was wounded in combat. After the war, he first lived and worked in Germany (Saarbrücken, Berlin, and Dresden), and later also in Prague. His music was banned when the Nazis came to power, who labelled it an example of entartete Kunst, German for “degenerate art”, which was deemed incompatible with Nazi ideology. In addition, he found it difficult to find a job in Czechoslovakia due to his communist sympathies.

After Prague was invaded by the Third Reich, Schulhoff gave concerts under various pseudonyms. He applied to the Soviet Union for citizenship papers but was arrested by the Gestapo before he was able to leave the country. In June 1941, he was sent to a concentration camp in Wülzburg, Bavaria, where he died of tuberculosis, in 1942.

Erwin Schulhoff was a composer and pianist whose work was inspired by jazz and Dadaism. His compositions were labelled “degenerate” by the Nazis.

Born on 8 June 1894 in Prague, he started his musical education in the Prague Conservatory under the instruction of Antonín Dvořák. He went on to study composition and piano in Vienna, Leipzig, and Cologne, his teachers included Claude Debussy and Max Reger. He gave concerts in Germany, France, and Great Britain, and created works inspired by jazz and Dadaism.

Erwin served in the army during World War I and was wounded in combat. After the war, he first lived and worked in Germany (Saarbrücken, Berlin, and Dresden), and later also in Prague. His music was banned when the Nazis came to power, who labelled it an example of entartete Kunst, German for “degenerate art”, which was deemed incompatible with Nazi ideology. In addition, he found it difficult to find a job in Czechoslovakia due to his communist sympathies.

After Prague was invaded by the Third Reich, Schulhoff gave concerts under various pseudonyms. He applied to the Soviet Union for citizenship papers but was arrested by the Gestapo before he was able to leave the country. In June 1941, he was sent to a concentration camp in Wülzburg, Bavaria, where he died of tuberculosis, in 1942.


Duo for Violin and Cello
I. Moderato; II. Zingaresca. Allegro giocoso; III. Andantino; IV. Moderato

Violin: Małgorzata Wasiucionek
Cello: Jan Skopowski

Recording from a concert at the White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw on 13 October 2017.

Germanica

The location of Schulhoff’s autograph of the Symphonia germanica is unknown.
Scan extracted from: Yoel Greenberg, Parables of the Old Men and the Young: The Multifarious Modernisms of Erwin Schulhoff’s String Quartets„Music & Letters”, Vol. 95, No. 2 (MAY 2014), pp. 213-250.