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Gerald Abraham

(b Goldingen, Courland [now Kuldīga, Latvia], 3/March 15, 1838; d Moscow, 14/Feb 26, 1889). Russian cellist, composer and administrator. The son of a Jewish doctor and amateur violinist (Davidhoff), he studied mathematics at Moscow University, graduating in June 1858. He then went to Leipzig to study composition with Moritz Hauptmann. Moscheles and Ferdinand David happened to hear him play, and he was invited to perform his own B minor Concerto with the Gewandhaus Orchestra on 15 December. In the following year he succeeded Friedrich Grützmacher as principal cellist of the orchestra and cello professor at the conservatory; against his will, he was obliged to recognize his vocation as a cellist rather than as a composer. Despite his notorious distaste for intensive practising he was soon acclaimed as one of the greatest players of his day, superb as a soloist, perhaps even finer in chamber music....

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Christopher Hailey

(August Julius)

(b Monaco, March 23, 1878; d Berlin, March 21, 1934). Austrian composer, teacher, conductor and administrator. He is a central figure in that remarkable flowering of opera in Austria that included the works of Zemlinsky, Berg and Korngold. Integrating his aesthetic plurality (a mixture of Romanticism, naturalism, symbolism, Impressionism, Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit), timbral experimentation, strategies of extended tonality and conception of total music theatre into the narrative of 20th-century music has contributed to a more differentiated understanding of central European modernism.

Schreker was the oldest of four surviving children born to Ignaz Schrecker, a court photographer of Jewish birth, and Eleonore von Clossmann, a member of the Catholic aristocracy of eastern Styria. Ignaz Schrecker’s restless travels took him and his family from Vienna to Monaco, Spa, Brussels, Paris, Trieste and Pola before he settled at last in Linz in 1882. After his death in 1888 the family moved to Vienna, where in ...