Hanns Eisler

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Eisler, Hanns


Born July 6, 1898, in Leipzig; died Sept. 6, 1962, in Berlin. German composer and public figure (German Democratic Republic [GDR]). Member of the Academy of Arts of the GDR.

Eisler studied composition in Vienna with A. Schönberg from 1919 to 1923 and took up residence in Berlin in 1924. Although his early works show the influence of his teacher, Eisler’s progressive views, his study of Marxism, and his increasing contacts with the revolutionary movement made his art more democratic. Eisler worked closely with E. Weinert, B. Brecht, and the singer E. Busch, who performed many of his songs for the masses, and he taught and addressed workers’ choral groups.

Eisler composed many workers’ songs, marches, and ballads on current political topics, such as “Song of Solidarity,” “Song of the Unemployed,” “Song of the United Front,” “Red Wedding,” and “The Comintern.” He was a founder of a new style of revolutionary song for the masses. In addition, he composed works in the larger forms, including Requiem for Lenin (1937) and music for theatrical productions, notably the music to Brecht’s The Measures Taken (1930).

In 1938, after the fascists had come to power, Eisler emigrated to the USA, where he worked in Hollywood. Accused of un-American activities, he left the USA in 1948 as a “voluntary deportee.” He settled in Berlin in 1948 and played an active role in developing the musical culture of the GDR. In 1950 he began teaching composition at the Academy of Arts of the GDR and music theory at the Hochschule für Musik, which is now named in his honor. He helped found the Union of Composers and Musicologists of the GDR.

Eisler’s most important works include the cantatas German Symphony (1937), Serenade of the Age (1950), and The Carpet-weavers of Kuyan-Bulak (1957) and the symphonic triptych Song of Peace (1951). In his finest works Eisler combines the characteristic features of mass and revolutionary songs with varied means of musical expression. He used polyphony, atonal music, jazz elements, and folk song effects. Rhythm is an important organizing principle in Eisler’s vocal music, in which extensive use is made of recitative. His symphonic music is notable for its complex and subtle orchestration.

Eisler composed the national anthem of the GDR (words by Brecht), and he was awarded the National Prize of the GDR in 1949 and 1958.


Druskin, M. Gans Eisler i rabochee muzykal’noe dvizhenie v Germanii. Moscow, 1934.
Rebling, E. “Gans Eisler.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1957, no. 6.
Nest’ev, I. Gans Eisler i ego pesennoe tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
5 and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, conducted by Stefan Willich, Professor in Medicine at the Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin and former President of the Berlin Music Conservatory Hanns Eisler.
She graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and completed a Master's Degree at the Hochschule fur Musik Hanns Eisler.
He studied conducting in Berlin at the renowned Hochschule fur Musik Hanns Eisler with Professor Hans-Dieter Baum and took part in master classes with distinguished conductors such as Fabio Luisi and Gianluigi Gelmetti.
She was accepted by Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin.
The history of music publishing is examined from the perspective of specific editions, with chronological summaries of the editorial histories of the works of many composers, from the Notre Dame School to Hanns Eisler, and insight into the editorial principles of each period.
During this time Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler were composing music for Brecht's plays, so Brecht gave Dessau the opportunity to set poems from the collection Deutsche Kriegsfibel (German War Primer).
They put out their antenna and found Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and all of the other great composers who already had an audience and had seen success in Europe," said Hope.
She begins by mapping aesthetic and cultural boundaries in discussions of landscaping German song, modernism, genre, and musical perspectives Then she profiles Lieder composers Hans Pfitzner, Hanns Eisler, Paul Hindemith, Arnold Sch|nber, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern.
At the age of 11 she was admitted to the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin.
Alongside texts by obvious Greats like Walter Benjamin, Hanns Eisler, Lion Feuchtwanger, Max Frisch, George Grosz, Lotte Lenya, and Carl Zuckmayer, or collaborators like Ruth Berlau, Elisabeth Hauptmann, and Kathe Rulicke, there are also some perhaps less obvious testimonies, say, by Sidney Hook, Christopher Isherwood, or Shelley Winters.
The famous string prelude that marks the film was not an original piece; composed by Hanns Eisler in 1954, it had appeared in Johannes Becher's tragic East German play, Winterschlacht.
When he was 10, his family moved to Berlin where he won several competitions and studied at the city's Hochschule furMusik Hanns Eisler.