Just in: Arnold Schoenberg is declared Unesco world heritage

Just in: Arnold Schoenberg is declared Unesco world heritage


norman lebrecht

December 01, 2011

Arnold Schoenberg’s documentary estate, thrown onto the street by the University of Southern California in 1997, was today brought under the protection of Unesco in its museum home in Vienna. The Mayor of Vienna and members of the Schoenberg family attended the ceremony. More here from Austrian TV.

Arnold Schönberg


  • Dan P. says:

    The characterization of Schoenberg’s estate being “thrown into the street” by the University of Southern California misrepresents what actually happened.

    USC originally agreed to house the Schoenberg nachlass with the proviso that the building that housed it would be dedicated to Schoenberg’s life and work. At some point, and without consulting the board that oversaw the archives (which included members of the Schoenberg family), USC decided that it needed the unused space for non-Schoenberg related classes and performances. The Schoenberg family sued to force the issue, and USC refused to relent. The issue for USC wasn’t that they didn’t want the collection, they just wanted to make use of the otherwise unused space and staff of the building that housed it.

    The two parties finally came to an agreement. The Schoenberg’s agreed to let USC use the building as they wished but then USC had to relinquish the collection by a certain date. USC also agreed to contribute $250,000 toward the cost of relocating the collection. The collection then was removed to Vienna. Schoenberg’s native city, but also a place that was hostile to Schoenberg and his music long before it welcomed the Nazi invasion.

    There are two sad things that came out of this, however. One is that that local scholars lost the opportunity to easily study Schoenberg’s work in the city and country that gave him a home when he was a refugee from the Nazis, provided commissions of all his late masterpieces, and was the most vigorous center of the study and understanding of his music during a time of global indifference to him.

    The other sad thing is that USC could not have found what would have been a tiny fraction of a fraction of the amount that it uses to support its sports teams and other entertainment ephemera in order to sustain both its music department’s needs and to retain it’s sole link with one of the greatest of the greats in the history of Western Music.

    Dan P.

    • It was rather more devious as I recall it, Dan, having written about it at the time. The university told the Schoenberg family it had a donor who wanted to rename the building and that, unless they matched the donation, Schoenberg’s name was taken down. Whichever way you look at it, this was disgraceful behaviour towards a cultural icon. The Schoenberg estate promptly received offers from three European cities to house the collection and USC branded itself for the forseeable future a culture-free zone. Would you send your child to be educated by such philistines?

      • Dan P. says:

        I wasn’t aware of that added insult, but it really isn’t surprising. That no one in the U.S. could prevent the loss of BOTH the Schoenberg and, before that, the Stravinsky archives from leaving U.S. soil, when it had a legitimate claim and the means to host both, speaks volumes.

        With only a few exceptions, the arts in general, but music, even more specifically, are the unwanted stepchildren of our (U.S.) universities and colleges, where the big money is devoted to sciences, sports, and what amounts to occupational training, at the expense of a broader education. I’m sure that, by and large, they would just as soon get rid of the arfts entirely. Still, this is only one symptom of the more widespread disappearance of a general musical artistic culture in the U.S., that was only a temporary phenomenon anyway, growing out of the European diaspora during WW II, and then dying with them – but that is another discussion entirely.

        But, getting back to Los Angeles, this was, after all, the city whose resident orchestra almost never did anything to honor it’s most honorable residents, the two defining figures in 20th century music, during their lifetimes (Klemperer, excepted). However, as the well known story goes, the orchestra management DID however, prevail upon conductor Andre Previn to delay the start of an L.A. Phil concert once because Barbra Streisand had not yet arrived to take her seat.

        You see, we have our own royalty over here as well. And you can be sure the concert program had no Stravinsky or Schoenberg piece on it.

        Dan P.

      • Guy W. says:

        Perhaps you’re mixing up two stories? UCLA, not USC, considered changing the name of Schoenberg Hall in response to a large donation. Here is your story on the subject: http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/001025-NL-pioneers.html. Same town, different school.

        • dp53 says:

          No, no, Guy, the story that you linked to is incorrect. See USC’s own website http://www.usc.edu/libraries/archives/schoenberg/asi203.htm concerning the Schoenberg Institute as well as the 1995 article published by the L.A. Times at http://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-02/news/mn-61355_1_lawrence-schoenberg

          While Schoenberg did teach at both institutions, the collection – and Schoenberg Hall – were a part of the USC (University of Southern California for those who aren’t familiar) not UCLA (the University of California at Los Angeles). Although I was not personally involved in any of this, I did follow it closely when the hall opened, and knew very well some of the people who were there at the time and who later were most publicly vocal about it during the controversy (including some of those cited in the above article).

          Just as a side note, the attorney who represented the Schoenberg family in this suit was none other than the young Randy Schoenberg, the composer’s grandson, who I knew slightly when he was a kid at Princeton. In 2005, he really made a name for himself when he went up against the Gov’t of Austria, ultimately arguing (successfully) in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, that Austira did not have a legal claim to Klimt’s famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, as it had successfully claimed until then. That the Austrian State Gallery was able to acquire the painting was due to the fact that the Nazis had confiscated it from owner’s family after they had fled Vienna for their lives. The painting, by the way, is now on permanently installed at a gallery in New York City.

          Dan P.

    • dp53 says:

      Guy – first my apologies. You were absolutely right – there WERE two different stories. I wasn’t even aware of the UCLA one and I smugly scanned the linked article too quickly.

      The incident I was speaking about (and the only one I knew about) was USC’s use of ITS Schoenberg Hall and the disposition of USC’s holdings of the Schoenberg archive. When Mr. Lebrecht mentioned about the secret donor of the hall, I was neither aware of it nor did I realized that he was referring to an entirely different matter, since the original topic was about the manuscripts, which was a USC issue, not the funding of the hall, which was the UCLA one..

      When I just checked the UCLA website to see THEIR Schoenberg Hall, I was amused to note that it was part of the Herb Alpert School of Music. Now that UCLA has a Herb Alpert School of Music and the L.A. Philharmonic plays in Walt Disney Hall, (and nothing against the trumpet or Mickey Mouse) I just wonder which pop icon will name L.A.’s next cultural institution.

      Again my apologies. I both need to read more slowly and get new glasses.

      Dan P.

  • Grant Barnes says:

    In its issue dated April 28, 1996, the Los Angeles Times reported: “Last May, the university and the heirs–Lawrence Schoenberg, a retired teacher and current acting director of the institute; Ronald R. Schoenberg, a municipal court judge; and Nuria Schoenberg Nono, widow of Italian composer Luigi Nono–agreed to a permanent parting of the ways.

    “The university was candid in stating it could no longer meet the family’s demands that the building, which contains archives and a 200-seat recital hall, be used only for classes and activities specifically related to the composer, an important musical pioneer best known for his experiments with 12-tone music. In an April statement, university provost Lloyd Armstrong Jr. said the university was willing to lose the valuable collection rather than agree to ‘create a private shrine for the composer’s heirs.’

    “Any new institute, its acting director said, will be bound by the same rules, along with a provision that the heirs and their descendants participate as board members. The latter was another sore point with USC, where the terms of the donation called for such participation but, in practice, the Schoenbergs felt shut out of administrative decisions. Additionally, the family is looking for what it considers to be sufficient funds for the collection’s upkeep.”

    I wasn’t privy to any of the conversations about moving the archives away from the private university of USC, where (as at the rival local state-funded university UCLA) Schoenberg taught. Many members of the family have grown up in Los Angeles and are prominent for their own accomplishments (as, e.g., Dan P. pointed out about Randol Schoenberg Jr.’s to retrieve the Klimt paintings for Bloch-Bauer’s remaining heir. In addition, they are supportive of performances of Arnold Schoenberg’s music, and the family home has been used for recordings of his music as recently as earlier this year of theop. 45 string trio. Thus, there were persuasive reasons for keeping the archives in L.A., if appropriate funding could be found or another arrangement in L.A. worked out..

    That being said, I think it’s fair to say that Vienna owes the memory of Schoenberg, identified more with the Second Viennese School than with the war-time and post-war music history in L.A., something, since it was that city’s long-embedded anti-Semitism and the Anschluss with the Nazis that made Arnold Schoenberg, Sigmund Freud, Alma Wedekind-Mahler, Ernst Krenek, Leo Baeck, and indeed the late Maria Altmann (who was awarded the Klimt paintings claimed by the Austrian Government) emigrate to the U.S. and England. Arnold Schoenberg came out of the Viennese traditions, reacted to them, and his music can’t be understood except in reference to those traditions, especially tonality. In contrast, the greatest California students of his such as John Cage and Lou Harrison took music in a way antithetical to those traditions.

    Finally, it’s misleading to describe college music programs, especially that of USC, as being “stepchildren” of American universities. USC received both Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky in the post-war years and houses a very active (publications and performances) Polish Music Center. The university is proud that its music department was one of the first four academic departments created at USC after it was founded in 1880 as a Methodist instituion. The USC-Thornton School of Music has always had the reputation of being one of America’s leading conservatories, including being the best in the Western U.S. for many years.

    Although I’m not an alumnus, I attend concerts there at least once a week, the last two weeks indeed seven times — three four-hour nights of the semi-annual Chamber Music Marathon, one night of an early music concert, this morning’s HDTV broadcast of the Met’s “Rodelinda,” and two performances of two different casts in an imaginatively conceived production of “The Magic Flute.” All but the operas were free, and even those were free to the students and faculty and only US$12-18 for the general public.

    USC was the first Los Angeles company to perform Thomas Ades’ “Power Her Face” (the Long Beach Opera gave the American premiere a few years prior). I’ve seen my only production of Wagner’s “Das Liebesverbot” at USC. Gorecki conducted the USC-Thornton Symphonty in his Third Symphony. One composer in residence, Morten Lauridsen, has been awarded the National Medal of Arts “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.” The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. The faculty profile of another resident composer, Stephen Hartke, records his standing: “Hartke has also won the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, two Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Charles Ives Living from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Deutsche Bank Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. In 2008, Hartke’s opera, ‘The Greater Good’ [premiered at Glimmerglass Opera], received the first Charles Ives Opera Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.” USC graduates and faculty are annually recognized in the list of Grammy nominations for both classical and jazz.

    And in addition to the USC-Thornton School of Music, the university’s Visions and Voices interdiscplinary project has had the Tokyo String Quartet in residency, with separate study-programs with both the USC football team and coaches and Antonio Dimasio’s neurosciences Center for Brain and Creativity, and has an upcoming program “highlighting the work of contemporary women composers. The program will feature the work of two USC composers, Veronika Krausas and Erica Muhl, as well as several other distinguished composers, including Jennifer Higdon (2010 Pulitzer Prize winner), Joan Tower, Kathryn Salfelder and Susan Botti.”

  • Dan P. says:

    Brant, just a couple comments.

    First, thanks for giving me a wider picture of the music of USC’s musical culture, and yes, you are right, to say “college music programs, especially that of USC as being ‘stecphildren’ of American Universities” is misleading. But the thing is, I never said that. What I said was “With only a few exceptions, the arts in general, but music, even more specifically, are the unwanted stepchildren of our (U.S.) universities and colleges, where the big money is devoted to sciences, sports, and what amounts to occupational training.” This situation is common here – just ask any college music professor who’s been around.

    Yes, there are those universities with a music school, but those are the exceptions. For the most part, U.S. college music departments are there to “round out” their arts offerings, provide instrumental lessons, and support the glee club and bands, with a few musical academics to dress it up. That the academic side of music is not taken seriously can be seen from the advertisements for open positions that we all get, like “oboe teacher to also be responsible for two semesters of music theory or history, run the electronic music studio, and teach one course of world music.” I’m not making this up. And this would be an adjunct position.

    Second, although it is admirable that USC is able to house the Heifetz and Piatigorsky papers, the Polish music center and host prizewinning composers, Stephen Hartke and Joan Tower, the truth of the matter is, that interesting as those things are, they are not Schoenberg. H and P, as great as they were – and that’s indisputable – were not Schoenberg. Schoenberg belongs in the class of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky. What he thought and what he achieved still matters, in the same way that what Brahms and Mahler thought and achieved still matters. Big difference. To give up that, to my mind, is a terrible thing.

    Third, while in the long run, I’m glad that the Schoenberg nachlass was given a good home, as were the papers of Stravinsky, I can’t go along with you when you state that “Arnold Schoenberg came out of the Viennese traditions, reacted to them, and [dp: therefore] his music can’t be understood except in reference to those traditions, especially tonality.” First, I don’t think that’s entirely true because as important as those traditions are, they are only a small part of what Schoenberg’s music is about. Second, why does understanding those traditions depend upon being Viennese?

    It was in the U.S. that music theorists truly began to understand the nature and true extent of his achievements in detail, thanks largely to Milton Babbitt. That knowledge has been influential to generations of students in the U.S. Europe came much later to that, and then it was mostly in the U. K..

    And, on a larger – cultural – level what are universities for, but to pass on particular cultures to those wishing to understand them? I once spent two very enjoyable weeks in Vienna, but only twice did I hear any “classical” music on the radio, and one of those times the music was broadcasted from Italy. And, what was the first thing I heard when I stepped into the cab at the airport? Not Mahler. It was another M: Michael Jackson.

    As you must be aware, many of central Europe’s best intellectual traditions were transplanted to the US and U.K. where artists and intellectuals were able to live free and unmolested to carry on those traditions. Like it or not, that line of tradition in central Europe was effectively killed off by the Nazis. And today – and I don’t want to seem cruel, I loved Vienna – that tradition has been brought back mostly on the level of cultural ornament for the tourist trade (the Figarohaus now has a gift shop, which I don’t think was there when Mozart lived in it).

    To cite just one example, the ideas of Heinrich Schenker, arguable Vienna’s greatest music theorist – and, by the way, an enemy of all 20th century music, including that of Schoenberg – were transplanted nearly completely to the U.S. when Schenker’s students came here during the war and taught, leaving hundreds of scholars and specialists in their wake. Since then, the U.S. (and to some extent, the U.K.) has become the center of that tradition and one can find hardly an Austrian or German who knows much – if anything – of one of their leading, if somewhat eccentric, intellectual lights.

    Dan P.

    • Dan P. says:

      Just one last thing:

      Despite all of the above, I don’t think USC was being unreasonable in wanting to use the concert hall and class rooms for other music purposes when the Schoenberg facility was otherwise unoccupied. But I do think they were wrong not to have tried to work it out in advance with the Schoenberg family first. I could be very wrong, but my guess is that it may have been that act , which forced the Schoenberg family to take such an uncompromising position in response. It would have been only understandable to assume that any agreement they had with USC would eventually mean nothing as well.

      Dan P.

  • Grant Barnes says:

    @dp53, who stated: “When I just checked the UCLA website to see THEIR Schoenberg Hall, I was amused to note that it was part of the Herb Alpert School of Music. Now that UCLA has a Herb Alpert School of Music and the L.A. Philharmonic plays in Walt Disney Hall, (and nothing against the trumpet or Mickey Mouse) I just wonder which pop icon will name L.A.’s next cultural institution.” In the context of halls at both USC and UCLA being named after Arnold Schoenberg for his contributions to the fame of both institutions for music education, a reader might be tempted to draw the inference that Los Angeles recently is naming cultural institutions after pop icons.

    This would be an inaccurate inference. In the U.S., where private benefactors give far more to music and art then does any government — federal or state (although both do subsidize such giving through deductions from income tax for much of such donations) — the tradition has developed of naming the many buildings and venues that are necessary for charitable and education purposes at the request of a donor who give an extraordinary amount. For example, Walt Disney Concert Hall was not named because Disney marketed Mickey Mouse but, to quote the LA Phil website, “In 1987, the late Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million to build a world-class performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts. Since then, other gifts and accumulated interest bring the Disney family’s total contribution to over $100 million.”

    Similarly, UCLA’s website chronology of the history of music at UCLA records, for 2007, “The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is formed and a gift of a $30 million endowment to support the school is received from the Herb Alpert Foundation.” (The 1937 entry, in part, states: “Arnold Schoenberg joins the faculty of the Department of Music. He retires in 1944. Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 4 receives its world premiere at Royce Hall, performed by the Kolisch Quartet. The UCLA Philharmonia is founded.” The only entry for 1963 states, “The Music Building is named in honor of Arnold Schoenberg.”)

    The Herb Alpert Foundation similarly gave very large donations to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), which similarly named its music department after Herb Alpert. According to CalArts’ website, “The [$1 million] matching grant to CAP joins a roster of presient and significant contributions from The Herb Alpert Foundation to CalArts. Over the last 16 years, the intersection of educational interests between the foundation and CalArts has been reflected in the support of the Dizzy Gillespie Chair in Music; the Dizzy Gillespie Recording Studio; programming at REDCAT; and student scholarships. The cornerstone of this relationship has been a partnership over the past 14 years to present the Alpert Awards in the Arts. The five $75,000 fellowships given each year to mid-career artists in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater and visual arts are administered by CalArts with funding from The Herb Alpert Foundation. In April 2008, the foundation made a $15 million gift to the School of Music at CalArts — bringing over $24 million in total gifts to CalArts. In recognition of this historic gift, the school was renamed The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts. The matching grant to CAP totals The Herb Alpert Foundation’s support of CalArts at nearly $25 million.”

    Fifty and twenty-five million dollar gifts are extraordinary in our country and deserve to be recognized in some way. When people who have made a fortune in pop culture want to honor a fuller range of music or artistry than their own and give such wealth, I think it’s fine to recall how extraordinarily successful their careers and investments were. Naming buildings and institutions that would not have existed BUT FOR such generous donations is appropriate, not least if it’s meant to be a way of motivating other potential donors to make extraordinary gifts to institutions always hurting for money to advance and grow their programs and facilities.

    In current parlance, some of the 1% make it possible for some in the 99% to pursue their dreams and advance their talents.

  • Dan P. says:

    I think everyone here understands, appreciates, and is grateful for the role of private contributions to arts institutions, and, you are right, my little attempt at humor as expressed did convey an inaccurate implication. But the underlying question was this: at what point does the naming of an institution become a distraction that obscures its purpose by containing unwanted implications? Names have meanings and consequences as any commercial business owner (and child) knows and what purpose does it serve (besides the obvious) to name one kind of institution after something strongly suggests another kind? Let’s just hope that Lady Gaga doesn’t wish to have a hospital named after herself.

    Dan P.

  • Grant Barnes says:

    @Dan P.: In a recent post on the blog OutWestArts.com, the blogger recalled a discussion he had with Linda Singer and Judith Butler: “Butler’s answer, as I remember it, was that the best way to address any concerns about art, or how it is made, funded or supported, should take a proliferative form. If you’ve got a problem with how art is made/produced/funded, then make/produce/fund your own in response in a manner that addresses your concerns and critiques. Fight art with art so to speak. How all this relates to Thursday and Saturday at the Met Opera can be interpreted several ways. [referring to the demonstration outside on Thursday and the repeated calls “Occupy Wall Street” inside the hall after the lights were dimmed on Saturday] But I’ve always favored this idea that the best response to anything you don’t like is to be proliferative and productive in response. The opera house and the particular artistic forces it relies upon, have always been the locus of cultural contention, political or otherwise.”

    If one believes the best response to an institution the name of which one feels is distractive to the sense of well-being of an individual or social group is to deface the name or criticize the intentions of donors who became prominent in music or art because of their own accomplishments, then so be it. Whether iinstitutions are named after donors seems to me totally irrelevant to what is accomplished by that institution in its daily teaching and research. If one has a problem with a name, it’s more creative to endow another institution in the same city and persuade its board to name it as that donor wants. The mural art created by Occupy L.A. is to be preserved as part of the cultural heritage of the city.

    As for any artist who has garnered millions because of a particular rapport with her or his audience, I think it far better to use such money to endow a hospital than to buy multiple houses throughout the world, irrespective of what name it bears.

    And to return to the naming of Schoenberg Hall at UCLA, I can point out that the music of other composers, including Stravinsky, has been played there. I really don’t think anyone would be deterred from performances there thinking that only the music of Schoenberg is played there.

    On the philosophical point made, I can only respond that for me seeking a presumed clarity in identifying the “point” at which naming an institution becomes a distraction is something I must lay at the feet of scholastic parsers. I will simply enjoy the music and ambience of Disney Hall and am part of that large group of people who, hearing the name Disney, think of the concert hall that is so beautiful and has such wonderful acoustics and which houses great music very often persuasively played.

    • Dan P. says:

      Grant – Actually, I have no quarrel with the right of an institution to call itself whatever it wants. Their school, their money, their name, whatever they want. That’s fine. And, if, as can happen, the person giving the money insists on naming rights – usually, their name – they’re all consenting adults, so no issue for me on those grounds.

      Instead, what troubles me is neither abstract nor purely philosophical. It concerns the long-term health of our culture. Unlike pop culture, high art (for lack of a better term) cannot support itself as a money making proposition. It never has and no one expects it to. And the wealthy have always sought to finance it from a combination of their love of art and as a public symbol of that love. That’s entirely human. Still no problem for me.

      As both money and love for the arts has begun to ebb, it seems that for many of the remaining big bucks donors, the motivating factor leans too much toward the symbolic vanity project. What happens when the number of un-named venues shrinks or disappears entirely?

      New York already has its Continental Airlines Stadium, it’s American Airlines Theater, it’s David Koch (the right-wing industrialist) Theater (formerly the New York State Theater) the Altria Museum (Altria, formerly Philip Morris, the cigarette people who lied to Congress about their addictive and deadly products and who also owned at the time Kraft, the maker of Cheez Wiz) and Avery Fisher Hall. (I would exempt here, Alice Tully of the famed Alice Tully Hall. I saw her there at concerts on a number of occasions – and even had an interesting discussion with her and Nicholas Slonimsky once during intermission. For her, this was personal, but certainly no vanity project.)

      Take, for example, the original Philharmonic Hall (Lincoln Center). In the mid–70s it accepted a large sum from Avery Fisher, the manufacturer of low-end loudspeakers, in order to do one of its periodic guttings to improve the acoustics. The deal was to re-name the hall after FIsher, and they did. However, when the need for big bucks returned (as it surely will again and again) the folks running the hall were on the verge of accepting big bucks from another donor who demanded the same consideration. However, the heirs of Mr. Fisher raised a big stink about it and held them to their original bargain. I don’t know what happened to the new money, but I the plans for its use fell through.

      My concern is not that there are big money donors that seek only the reflected glory of their munificence, but their current proliferation seems to be a symptom of bad times ahead that there may not be enough donors who’s chief concern is only the continued existence of high art and who’s vanity is not involved.

      As for names being a possible distraction, in the neighborhood where I live there are two music schools that I know about. One is the Aaron Copland School of Music (which is attached to Queens College). The name pretty much announces what it represents, and if you don’t know who Copland is, then it isn’t for you. The other is the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Now, if it DOES concentrate on popular music, then it’s properly named and will attract the attention of likely supporters. If it doesn’t, because I’m only moderately interested in popular music, that’s too bad because I might otherwise want to make a donation or help raise funds, or attend performances. Whatever. But every time I see the name, all I can think of is that baritone voice singing Doo-be-doo-be-doo.

      Most people react to names of organizations in the same way, whether it be restaurants, shops, or whatever. That’s why I said it was a distraction – and it very well may go against THEIR own best interests. If one sells “big and tall” clothing, it pays to make that clear in your name if you want to get customers who are either big or tall – or even both. If I am a young gifted violinist in, say, Kansas, who has already played the Beethoven and Brahms concertos, if I were to make a list of conservatories that I want to explore, based only on name recognition only, I would list Juilliard, Curtis, NEC, Oberlin, or one of the big state university music schools with a reputation, like Indiana. There are certainly others as well. If I didn’t know any better, if I ran across a reference to the Herb Alpert School of Music I might think of those tacky looking albums from the 60s that my parents still have in the attic and say, no thanks. And it would be unfortunate both for me and the school not to explore this opportunity. It is obviously a serious place with high standards.

      Doesn’t that make any sense?

      Now, lastly we are again confusing the two Schoenberg Halls. The one in which the family objected to the flexibility of its use wasNOT the one at UCLA but the one at USC. The one at USC was a part of a much larger Schoenberg study center, hence the objection.

      Dan P.

  • It might be interesting to note that the family is very pleased with our eviction from USC.

    Consider these two recent events:

    Bologna – The Schoenberg Experience


    UNESCO – Memory of the World


    And one might want to peruse the Schoenberg Center Website ( http://www.schoenberg.at ) where one has access to reproductions of our father’s manuscripts, writings, paintings, photographs, etc. The Center has been flourishing in Vienna since 1998 with an extensive concert program, regular symposia (recently Schoenberg in Italy), educational programs associated with the University and a comprehensive writings project. The Schoenberg Center offers scholarships to students who wish to study in Vienna including housing in the Schoenberg Haus in Moedling.

    The history of our contract dissolution with USC (not to be confused with UCLA) has been well documented. In the discovery phase of our lawsuit with the University we unearthed documents outlining three plans for “getting rid of the Schoenbergs”.

    Regarding the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), administrators wished to change the name of the Schoenberg Music Building claiming that it had never been officially named. My recollection was that, in fact, there was a resolution by the Board of Regents that named both the hall and building after my father. This was confirmed by the President of the University of California and the University then agreed not to change the name of the Music Building.

  • Randol Schoenberg says:

    For more facts and details about the Schoenberg v. USC lawsuit, see the following documents



    • Thanks so much, Randol. Good to have the case law on the table.

      • Bob H. says:

        Respectfully, that’s not “case law”, that’s the brief of one party and, by its nature, is one-sided towards the party that submitted it. That’s not to accuse the briefs of anything, but to say that to assert that they are the results or the case law or any such label is completely oblivious of the legal system.

  • Bobak says:

    It was sad to see the dispute between the Schoenberg Estate and USC, but its good to see the composer receiving respect regardless of the arguments between the various parties.

    I just wanted to take contention with two statements from the subsequent (interesting) discussion that should be addressed:

    (1) Dan P. says: “USC could not have found what would have been a tiny fraction of a fraction of the amount that it uses to support its sports teams”

    This statement is ignorant of how sports are funded. The so-called “big time” sports programs from the U. of Texas to USC, to Stanford are self-sufficient. They receive no money from the university (football and men’s basketball pay for the other sports), fund-raise separately, etc.

    If there’s fault to be assessed, it’s that it’s hard to find donors who find that interesting. USC purely academic fundraising ranks in the top of America, but the relationship with the Schoenberg Estate just didn’t work out. The numbers don’t lie:

    Citation for university fundraising in the USA in 2010 puts USC at #4 in the USA (non-sports donations):

    Citation for University fundraising in ’09 puts USC at #7 in the USA:

    As for arts: Those years do not include the $25m naming gift for the Thornton School of Music (1999, plus an additional $5m from the Thortons ’06) or the $175m donation to the film school (2006) –both were the largest of their kind at the time they were received. USC does get an awful lot, in fact much, much more than it gets in sports donations (it’s had a number of $100m donations for academics), thus: this was an unfortunate dispute between USC and the Schoenberg Estate, but don’t claim that USC doesn’t spend on academics or arts!

    (2) “USC branded itself for the forseeable future a culture-free zone”.

    As the numbers spend on academics and arts noted above indicate, this statement is preposterous unless you consider spending millions on arguably the best film school in the world (and George Lucas’ $175m donation was hardly the last of it) and a music school consistently ranked among the upper-echelon to be “culture-free”.

    Again, it’s fine to lament the loss of the institutions presence in LA, but let’s not get ridiculous in making unfounded, sweeping statements without support.