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Arnold Schoenberg was born on September 13 1874 to a Jewish family in Vienna He taught himself composition with help in counterpoint from the Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky and in 1899 produced his first major work the tone poem Verklrte Nacht Transfigured Night for string sextet In 1901 he married Zemlinskys sister Mathilde with whom he had two children The couple moved to Berlin where for two years Schoenberg earned a living by orchestrating operettas and directing a cabaret orchestra In 1903 Schoenberg returned to Vienna to teach There he met his most successful students the Austrian composers Anton Webern and Alban Berg who became his close friends In his compositions Schoenberg employed far-reaching harmonies a trait that later developed into atonality Because of this riots erupted at both premieres of his first two string quartets in 1905 and 1908 Such experiences led him often to feel persecuted by a public that could not understand his music Schoenberg also began painting during these years and exhibited his work with a group of artists in the circle of the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky This period was marked by tragedy when Mathilde had an affair with his painting teacher who committed suicide after she returned to Schoenberg In 1911 the year in which Schoenberg published his book Theory of Harmony he accepted a teaching position in Berlin There he composed one of his most influential works Pierrot Lunaire 1912 He returned to Vienna in 1915 The interruptions occasioned by World War I combined with Schoenbergs search for a way to ensure logic and unity in atonal music prevented him from producing many works between 1914 and 1923 By 1923 however he had completed the formulation of his twelve-tone method of composition Mathildes death that same year was a serious blow to Schoenberg but in 1924 he met and married Gertrud Kolisch the sister of an Austrian violinist With the invitation in 1925 to teach composition at the
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