An exiled composer turns 100

An exiled composer turns 100


norman lebrecht

July 18, 2020

The unflappable Walter Arlen will turn 100 on July 31.


Born Walter Aptowitzer into a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna, he found stages of refuge in London, Chicago and Los Angeles, studying with Leo Sowerby and Roy Harris and befriending Stravinsky, Milhaud and Villa-Lobos.

Michael Haas offers a birthday tribute here.



  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    I’ve discovered so many interesting, but little-known composers thanks to Slipped Disc. Unfortunately, it is often on the occasion of their death, which is not the case here.

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    What an amazing story. Growing up in Los Angeles, I knew him only as a stern music critic, finding myself on the receiving end of a public scolding on a number of occasions. I wish him many further years of health and happiness.

  • Martinu says:

    Just read the (long but utterly arresting) story of Walter Arlen, by Michael Haas, to whom we are indebted for his epoch making series, Entartete Music from the nighties. What a story, and how many stories like that may have gone lost! The Vienna part reminds me of my Viennese family, most of its members succeeded in escaping. My family, just like the Dichter – Optovitzers, had a large store in Vienna, which was confiscated by the Nazis and never returned by the Austrians.
    I wish Walter Arlen healthy and happy life in the next 20 years. Ad Mea Ve’Esrim, Till 120, as we say in Hebrew.
    Gideon, Grandson of Robert (1890-1981), and Berta (1895-1987) Fischer, Son of Shoshana (Suzzie), (1924-1987), Vienna – Israel.