Leon Schidlowsky

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Leon Schidlowsky (born July 21, 1931 in Santiago de Chile ) is a Chilean-Israeli composer and painter. He writes works for orchestra , chamber ensemble , choir and for individual instruments. He also composed around 65 musical works with graphic notation . His musical works have been performed in different countries. His works became known through various musical groups, soloists and orchestras as well as conductors. His graphic and musical works were presented in various exhibitions connected with concerts.


Schidlowsky completed his school education at the Instituto Nacional in Santiago de Chile. At the Conservatorio Nacional of the University of Chile he studied piano with Professor Roberto Duncker between 1942 and 1948 , and later composition with Juan Allende-Blin and Fré Focke . At the same time he studied psychology and philosophy at the University of Chile, studies that he did not finish because he wanted to deepen his musical education in Europe . Between 1951 and 1954 he studied at the Northwest German Music Academy in Detmold . In this music school he met his future wife Susanne, whom he married in 1953 and with whom he had five children: David, Elias, Judith and the twins Yuval and Noam.

Chile (1954–1968; 2014)

After his return to Chile in 1955, Leon Schidlowsky joined the contemporary music group "Grupo Tonus", of which he was director between 1958 and 1961. This music group had set itself the task of making avant-garde and contemporary music known in Chile. In 1956 Leon Schidlowsky wrote "Nacimiento", which is considered to be the first electroacoustic work in Latin America . Between 1955 and 1959 he became a member of the British Council and from 1956 to 1961 musical advisor to the pantomime group "Grupo Noiswander". In 1961 Schidlowsky became director of the library of the Instituto de Extensión Musical at the University of Chile. From 1961 to 1963 he was also Secretary General of the Chilean Composers' Union. From 1963 on, Schidlowsky was director of the Instituto de Extensión Musical for three years. During this time, the institute will peak with the performance of musical works never before performed in Chile, as well as the world premiere of at least one work by a Chilean composer. In 1964 he became a member of the jury of a composition competition in Buenos Aires, together with the composers Luigi Dallapiccola and Alberto Ginastera . In the same year he took part in the symposium "Latin America and the music of our time", which took place in Lima . From 1965 Schidlowsky was professor of composition at the Conservatorio Nacional of the University of Chile. In 1966 he took part in the "Interamerican Festival" in Washington, DC and in the same year at the "Festival Interamericano de Música" in Caracas and in 1967 at the "Music Festival Spain and Latin America" ​​in Madrid . Together with the composers Krzysztof Penderecki and Luigi Nono , he took part in a musical symposium in Mérida in 1968, which took place under the name "The composer in our time". The city of Mérida named him “Huésped distinguido” of the city. At the end of the same year Schidlowsky received a scholarship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to write an opera. This led to a longer stay in Europe, including Germany.


In 1969 he was appointed Professor of Composition and Music Theory at the Samuel Rubin Music Academy at Tel Aviv University. During this time he also gives a wealth of lectures, e.g. B. in Hamburg, Berlin and Stuttgart, Vienna , Lund and Saragossa . In 1979 he was able to take a " sabbatical year ", which he spent in Hamburg. In 1980/81 Schidlowsky spent a year in Berlin on a DAAD scholarship , where he devoted himself to composition and painting. Leon Schidlowsky has given various composition courses in different countries, including Spain, Sweden and Germany. In Israel he trained composers or influenced them, such as Avraham Amzallag, Chaya Arbel , John Bostock, Mary Even-Or , Rachel Galinne , Betty Olivero , Jan Radzynski, Ruben Seroussi, Ron Weidberg and Moshe Zorman.

honors and awards

Schidlowsky has received prizes and awards at various Chilean music festivals. In addition, several of his works in Chile received the CRAV award. In 1996 he was awarded first prize for his work Absalom in the competition on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2000 the Acum Prize for his life's work, which is awarded by the Israeli Composers Association. A year later, during his visit to Chile, the Chilean Chamber Music Orchestra made him an honorary member, the University of Chile made him an honorary professor of the faculty of arts and the Chilean Ministry of Education awarded him the “Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultural Gabriela Mistral ” with the degree “Caballero ". In 2007 he received the Angel Award from the city of Tel Aviv for the originality of his works and research into Jewish music. On August 21, it was announced in Santiago de Chile that Leon Schidlowsky had received the National Prize for Music 2014, which was accompanied by numerous awards in articles and interviews in the local press.


Many of Schidlowsky's works refer to his Jewish identity, the history of the Jewish people, and his interest in the history and the political and social situation in Chile and Latin America . His personal experiences and tragedies, such as the death of his wife Susanne (1999) and that of his son Elias (2004), also have a great influence. But the fates of personal or professional friends as well as political personalities of his time are also reflected in his works. As an admirer of Arnold Schönberg's music, Schidlowsky began his career as a composer following the musical tradition of the Second Viennese School . Later he took over serial techniques and experimented with free sound possibilities ( atonality , aleatoric , graphic notation ) - always understanding that music has a deeper meaning beyond the artistic absolute and can open up a way for people to find themselves. Schidlowsky says: “Art in itself doesn't just have one meaning; in it all the senses lie, all the questions, all the answers. I believe that art is a way to ourselves. ”He writes dramatic and haunting works. Examples

  • Caupolicán [(text by Pablo Neruda ), speaker, mixed choir, 2 pianos, 6 percussion instruments]
  • Tríptico [orchestra]
  • Kristallnacht [(text: fragments from a traditional Jewish prayer), tenor, male choir, orchestra]
  • Invocation [(text: the composer), soprano, speaker, orchestra]
  • Llaqui [(text by Javier Heraud ), speaker, orchestra]
  • New York [orchestra]
  • Epitafio para Hermann Scherchen [Orchestra]
  • Amereida [ 1 : Llaqui (text by Javier Heraud), speaker, orchestra; 2 : Memento (text by Javier Heraud), soprano, orchestra; 3 : Ecce Homo (Text: the composer based on Che Guevara ), alto, orchestra, 1969]
  • In Eius Memoriam [Orchestra]
  • Amerindia [ 1 : Preludio , orchestra; 2 : Los heraldos negros (text by César Vallejo ), speaker, orchestra; 3 : Sacsahuamán , orchestra; 4 : Era el crepúsculo de la iguana (text by Pablo Neruda), speaker, orchestra; 5 : Yo vengo a hablar (text by Pablo Neruda), speaker, orchestra]
  • Night [(text: the composer), mixed choir]
  • Berlin 80 [Orchestra]
  • Lux in Tenebris [orchestra]
  • Missa in Nomine Bach [(text from the mass), mixed choir, ensemble (8 singers)]
  • In memoriam Luigi Nono [viola, cello, double bass]
  • Arabesque [flute]
  • Three Dialogues [2 violins]
  • Serenata [mandolin]
  • Silvestre Revueltas [(text by Pablo Neruda), speaker, chamber orchestra]
  • Prelude to a Drama [orchestra]
  • Partita [cello]
  • Absalom [orchestra]
  • In memoriam Jorge Peña [(text: the composer), speaker, orchestra]
  • And death shall have no dominion [orchestra]
  • Job [orchestra]
  • L´inferno [orchestra]
  • In memoriam György Ligeti [Orchestra]
  • Nocturno [(Text: Pablo Neruda), speaker and orchestra]
  • Soledad [(Text: Quechua in Spanish), voice, oboe, horn, cello, 2009].

Graphic works:

  • Kolot [harp]
  • Actions for Piano [piano]
  • Vera la morte [(text by Cesare Pavese ), voice, percussion instruments]
  • Trine [violin (viola), cello, piano]
  • Hommage to Picasso [(text by Gertrude Stein ), voice]
  • Tetralogue [ 1 : Music for Piano and Winds ; 2 : Music for Piano and Strings ; 3 : Music for Piano and Percussion ; 4 : Music for Piano and Voice ]
  • Dadayama song [(text by Franz Mehring ), soprano, saxophone, piano, percussion instruments]
  • Missa Sine Nomine (In Memoriam Víctor Jara ) [ 1 : Bereschít bará elohím et haschamáim weét haáretz (text from the Bible), 2 mixed choirs, percussion instruments; 2 : Kyrie eleison , mixed choir; 3 : Lied (text by George Grosz), speaker, organ; 4 : Gloria , mixed choir, 4 gongs (1 player); 5 : Chile (text: the composer), 20 mixed voices; 6 : Credo , speaker, mixed choir, organ, 4 bass drums (1 player); 7 : Benedictus , 36 mixed voices, 4 hanging cymbals (1 player); 8 : I'm coming (text by Vladimir Mayakovsky ), 36 mixed votes; 9 : Dona nobis pacem , mixed choir; 10 : Babel (text from the Bible), 6 sopranos, 6 old men, 4 tenors, 4 basses; 11 : Epilogue (text from the Bible), speaker, small mixed choir, large mixed choir, organ, 4 percussion instruments]
  • Palindrome [female choir]
  • At Kafka's grave [(text by Franz Kafka , female voice + Crotales)]
  • The stars have become old [(texts by Heinrich Heine , Georg Trakl , Else Lasker-Schüler , Mascha Kaléko , Erich Fried , Novalis , the Bible), soprano, alto, baritone, speaker, mixed choir, piano, organ, harp, celesta , 3 percussion instruments]
  • Germany a winter fairy tale [choir, speakers, soloists, piano and percussion ensemble].

The three operas stand out among the wealth of his works:

Media / CD recordings

  • León Schidlowsky: " Obras sinfónicas ". Compositores chilenos Vol. 4. Academia Chilena de Bellas Artes. Santiago de Chile 2013. CD 7126709014223
  • Leon Schidlowsky on his 75th birthday . Works from 1952 to 2005. Live recordings from the Emmaus Church, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 23/24. September 2006 and 16/17. September 2006. musikart Ingo Schulz, CD 4260031182342
  • Leon Schidlowsky: Old people have become the stars . A modern passion. Recording of the world premiere on March 25, 2000. Type of music Ingo Schulz, CD 4012831190634
  • Leon Schidlowsky: Misa sine nomine . Concert recording from September 12, 1998. CD 4012831190436


  • Daniela Fugellie Videla: La música gráfica de León Schidlowsky: Germany a winter fairy tale (1979) como partitura multimedial . In: Revista Musical Chilena Año LXVI, Número 218, Santiago de Chile, julio-diciembre 2012.
  • David Schidlowsky (Ed.): Gráfica musical. Leon Schidlowsky . RiL editores Santiago de Chile 2012, ISBN 978-956-284-876-3 .
  • David Schidlowsky (Ed.) :, Mmusikalische Grafik - graphic music. Leon Schidlowsky . Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86573-620-8 .
  • Wolfgang Rüdiger: What do we want to build? Leon Schidlowsky: “At the grave of Kafka” for voices and crotales . In: Rolf Stoll (Ed.): Teamwork! Language, image, movement, scene: new music for school ensembles. Music and Education Special . Practice lessons. Schott Verlag, Mainz 2004.
  • Errico Fresis: Between mountains and sea. The composer Leon Schidlowsky . In: "Neue Musikzeitung," issue 9, Regensburg 2001.
  • Habakuk Traber: Schidlowsky, Leon: misa sine nomine . In: “Forum Kirchenmusik” 3, Templin 1999.
  • Michael Kube: Schidlowsky, Leon: misa sine nomine In: "New magazine for music" 3, Mainz 1999.
  • Z. Lutzky: Leon Schidlowsky: Portrait of a Composer as a Rebel In: "Israel Music Institute News" 91/3, Tel Aviv 1991.
  • YW Cohen: Neimej smiroth Israel . Tel Aviv 1990, pp. 236-243.
  • Karin von Maur : Subject music - painting - musical graphics . In: Catalog for the exhibition Leon Schidlowsky Musikalische Graphik . State Gallery Stuttgart 1979.
  • Erhard Karkoschka: On musical graphics and Leon Schidlowsky's relevant work . In: Catalog for the exhibition Leon Schidlowsky Musikalische Graphik . State Gallery Stuttgart 1979.
  • Leon Schidlowsky - musical graphics . Catalog for the exhibition, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 1979
  • Erhard Karkoschka: Leon Schidlowsky's "DADAYAmasONG". A musical graphic and its interpretation . In: Theodor Göllner (Ed.): Notation and performance. Symposium for the annual meeting of the Society for Music Research 1977 in Munich . Tutzing (Hans Schneider Verlag), 1980. Part of a series: Munich Publications on Music History, Vol. 30
  • María Ester Grebe: León Schidlowsky Gaete. Síntesis de su trayectoria creativa (1952–1968) . In: "Revista Musical Chilena" 22, H. 104/105, 7-52, Santiago de Chile 1968.
  • The Pan American Union (Ed.): Compositores de América / Composers of the Americas , Vol. 10, Washington DC 1965.

Individual evidence

Web links