Otto Luening (1900-) and the Theories of Bernhard Ziehn (1845-1912)

Neff, Severine

This paper will explore the influence of the theory of Bernhard Ziehn (1845-1912) on the work of Ferruccio Busoni's student, the American composer Otto Luening. Otto Luening studied composition with both Busoni and his disciple Philip Jarnach in Zurich from 1917 to 1920. Busoni's lessons featured mystical-philosophical comments on the principles of composition. It was Busoni who suggested Luening read Ziehn's writings. He drew Luening's attention to Ziehn's mastery of contrapuntal techniques and to his theory of symmetrical inversion. When Luening returned to America in 1920, Busoni asked him to convey regards to Wilhelm Middelschulte, with whom Luening subsequently studied Ziehn's theories. Later Luening himself taught Ziehn's theories at his own Chicago Musical Arts Studio.



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Columbia University
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March 24, 2015