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POSTPONED - Visiting Scholar - Prof Antonio Baldassarre - Public Lecture 4


Schoenberg and Kandinsky: Reconsidering a Special Friendship

Start Date

18th Oct 2016 6:00pm

End Date

18th Oct 2016 7:00pm


Conservatorium Recital Hall; 5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart

We wish to advise that due to circumstances beyond our control, Prof. Antonio Baldassarre is unable to join us to present his scheduled public lectures at the University of Tasmania. We are currently in negotiations with Prof. Baldassarre for the public lectures to be presented at a later date. We will advise details once known.

The University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music in association with the Tasmanian Chapter of the Musicological Society of Australia


Schoenberg and Kandinsky: Reconsidering a Special Friendship

a public lecture by Prof. Antonio Baldassarre

This lecture includes a two-piano performance by Michael Kieran Harvey and Arabella Teniswood-Harvey

6.00pm - 7.00pm | Tuesday 18 October 2016
Conservatorium Recital Hall
5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart


About this public lecture:
The catalyst for the friendship between Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Wassily Kandinsky (1966-1944) was a concert that took place in Munich on 2 January 1911, by which Kandinsky was exposed to the music of Schoenberg for the first time. One can easily adumbrate the inspiration the concert gave to Kandinsky based on the enthusiastic letter he wrote to Schoenberg some days later (18 January 1911), claiming that his and Schoenberg’s “efforts ... and the entire way of thinking and feeling” have “a great deal in common.” Schoenberg was very supportive of such an assessment, as is evidenced by his reassuring reply of 24 January 1911. Kandinsky’s initial response to the concert was, however, not the letter to Schoenberg, but rather two charcoal sketches in which he visualised his impressions of this concert. These two sketches are very informative because they elucidate the process of visual abstraction realised in his later canvas Impression III––a process that essentially is based on Kandinsky’s creative principle of “inner necessity” that seemed to be relevant also to Schoenberg during this period. His compositions (in particular the second string quartet op. 10, the three piano pieces op. 11, Die glückliche Hand op. 18, and Herzgewächse op. 20) as well as his collaboration in Der Blaue Reiter, clearly prove such a connection. In general, as the lecture will discuss, the aesthetic principles of the two artists suggest a correspondence of perspective that provides an illuminating focus for a closer examination of their friendship and artistic output. Kandinsky’s and Schoenberg’s oeuvres of the years around 1910, as well as the letters they exchanged, are striking evidence that the principle of “inner necessity” is not so much the result of any possible expressionist endeavour, as the consequence of changes in artistic techniques. Thus, even the later estrangement between the two artists can be interpreted in a new way taking into account the political transformation that significantly effected the dissolution of the conditions specific to and determining the constellation of the network of relations between Kandinsky and Schoenberg.

Antonio Baldassarre is Professor and Head of Research and Development of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Music, and is appointed Guest Professor at the Facultad de Música of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and PhD Advisor at Boston University. He is a board member of numerous national and international scientific and learned societies, including his role as President of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM) and as Member of the Directorium of the International Musicological Society. He holds a PhD from the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and has held research and teaching positions as Research Fellow, Lecturer and Visiting Professor at the Research Center for Music Iconography, the universities of Basel and Zurich, the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He has extensively researched and published on topics of music history from those of the Renaissance to contemporary music, music iconography, visual culture, performing studies, music historiography and the social and cultural history of music.