Johann Nepomuk David


Born: November 30, 1895   Died: December 22, 1977   Country: Austria   Period: 20th Century
Johann Nepomuk David, a 20th century Austrian composer, created numerous choral, organ and orchestral works, and he also served most of life as a teacher. Among his students were musicians well known to Austrians such as Hans Stadlmair, Helmut Lachenmann, Ruth Zechlin and Hans Georg Bertram.

A choirboy in the Augustinian Canons Saint Florian from 1909 to 1912 and a student at the Gymnasium of the Benedictine Monastery
Read more Kremsmuenster, David remained a devout Catholic and composed organ and vocal works. From 1921 to 1922 he studied at the Academy of Music and at the University in Vienna with Joseph Marx and Guido Adler and had personal contact with Josef Matthias Hauer and Arnold Schoenberg.

From 1925 to 1934 he was a teacher at the Catholic Elementary School, and during that time, he founded the Bach Choir. From 1930 to 1934 he also served as an organist at the Protestant Christ Church in Wels . He eventually became composition teacher at the State Conservatory (known since 1941 as the Academy of Music) in Leipzig . In 1942 he was appointed Acting Director of the Institute.

During the war years, Johann Nepomuk David remained a civilian and was placed on the Nazi Party's "Gottbegnadeten" list along with prominent musicians such as Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner and Wilhelm Furtwangler, as being exempt from military service but encouraged to create works patriotic to Germany. Despite his apolitical stance, David was awarded the Nazi Party's "Cultural Prize of the Upper Danube" and he created in 1942, at the height of the war, a "Heroes Ceremonial Motet" in honor of fallen German soldiers and dedicated to Hitler. He later repressed this work. Aside from these controversial anomalies, he concentrated during the war years on absolute music, (non-programmatic chamber music, symphonies, orchestral works) or sacred music, (organ music, biblical text motets).

After the war, David was Professor of Composition and Choir Director of the Salzburg Mozarteum, and from 1948 to 1963 he was professor of theory and counterpoint at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. He conducted the Stuttgart Bruckner Choir and the University Chamber Orchestra with highly publicized performances in Paris, France. David also directed performances of contemporary compositions, recordings and productions by the Süddeutsche Rundfunk Stuttgart. Though on friendly terms with avant-guarde and innovative composers, including earlier in his life, Arnold Schoenberg, the music of Johann Nepomuk David is considered traditionalist and tonal in both symphonic and church music. Read less

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