Arma, Paul [Weisshaus, Imre]
- Vera Lampert
(b Budapest, Oct 22, 1905; d Paris, Nov 28, 1987). French composer, pianist and ethnomusicologist of Hungarian birth. He studied the piano at the Budapest Academy of Music with Bartók (1921–4), whose advice on composition he often sought in later years and who kindled his love for folksong and collection. (In a lecture given at Harvard in 1943, Bartók spoke of Arma’s textless song for solo voice on one pitch with variations of vowel sound, dynamic and rhythm.) Arma began his career as a member of the Budapest Piano Trio (1925–6). Between 1924 and 1930 he gave many recitals in Europe and the USA and lectured on contemporary music at American universities. He settled in Germany in 1931, and for a time he led the musical activities at the Dessau Bauhaus, lecturing on modern music and experimenting with electronic music produced on gramophone records. Later he lived in Berlin and Leipzig, where he conducted several smaller choirs and orchestras. The advent of the Nazi regime in Germany forced his move to Paris, where he made his permanent home. At first he was associated with the RTF, notably as founder-director of the Loisirs Musicaux de la Jeunesse (...