Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts



Committee Chair

Kenneth Kreitner

Committee Member

Marcin Arendt

Committee Member

John Baur

Committee Member

Janet Page


ABSTRACTErwin Schulhoff was a Czech composer and pianist of Jewish heritage whose life came to an untimely end in the Holocaust. His work incorporated elements of several avant-garde and popular styles of his day, and he advocated for popular styles, such as jazz and folk music, to be included on the classical stage. His career was hindered by the Nazis through the last decade of his life until he was captured and sent to the Wlzburg concentration camp, where he died at the age of 48. After his death, his work did not receive much attention for about forty years. In the late 1980s, a recording of some of his works featuring the famous violinist Gidon Kremer was praised by a review in the Neue Muzikzeitung publication of 1988. A few years later, the author Josef Bek wrote a detailed biography titled Erwin Schulhoff: Leben und Werk, which was published in 1994. The work of pioneers such as these has led to more research and discovery on the life of Erwin Schulhoff. This dissertation is a small part of an ongoing effort to revive an awareness of Schulhoff and his work. This document opens up with a historical background which illustrates how Schulhoffs life was effected by the environment in which he lived. It then gives a biography followed by a study on his compositional style during his polystylistic period (1923 1932), during which he wrote his String Quartet No. 2 (WV 77). Chapters 4 7 give an in-depth movement-by-movement analysis of the quartet. The body of the dissertation ends with reflective thoughts on how the quartet fits into the context of his other works, including critical thoughts on how his stylistic choices and aesthetics, from all periods of his life, are reflective of his environment, character, and his political beliefs. This document does not cover every aspect of Schulhoffs life, but it will discuss Schulhoffs most creative period in his compositional career and hopefully shed light on his String Quartet No. 2, a rare gem in the string quartet repertoire that deserves to be recognized and enjoyed by performers and audiences worldwide.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest