Born: September 16, 1895; Tarnopol, Galicia
Died: November 21, 1954
Karol Rathaus was born in Tanople, Galicia (then part of Austria, now part of Poland) on September 16, 1895. He had a Viennese musical education, studying with Franz Schreker. He spent the first part of his career in Berlin (except for three years in Vienna during the worst part of Germany's post-War inflation). His initial style was a mixture of Viennese elegance and elements of Polish folk tradition. This soon evolved into a modernist GermanRead more Expressionist style that was initially displeasing to the audience. But a ballet score called The Last Pierrot (about a sixteenth century Pierrot who awakens in the 1920s) was a hit. Over the next few years his style became notably romantic and melodic. He was a pioneer of film scoring in German almost as soon as sound films were invented.
Leaving German in 1932 because he foresaw the ascendance of the Nazi Party, Rathaus worked, successfully, in Paris, London, and, beginning in 1938, in the U.S. He initially worked in Hollywood (where he felt alienated). In 1939 he became a professor of music at Queens College, New York City, a post he held with great distinction until his death on November 21, 1954. Read less