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Hanns Eisler

Eisler, Hanns (häns Īsˈlər) [key], 1898–1962, German composer, pupil of Arnold Schoenberg. In 1926, he joined the German Communist party, thereafter producing protest songs and other music expressive of left-wing ideals, and began a collaboration with Bertolt Brecht. He fled Naziism for the United States in 1933, settled in Los Angeles, created scores for a variety of films, and became musical assistant to Charlie Chaplin (1942–47). Called before the notorious House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 and castigated as a Communist, he left the United States in 1948, living first in Vienna and then in East Berlin, where he wrote music for 17 films and numerous plays as well as a large number of songs in cabaret style. During his career, he also wrote symphonies, choral compositions, chamber music, and art songs. His music is rigorously crafted, witty, and expressive. Eisler also wrote the book Composing for the Films (1947).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies


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