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KRENEK, Ernst (1900-91)

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KRENEK, Ernst (1900-91), Austrian-American composer, whose works encompass many trends in 20th-century music. Born in Vienna, he studied with the Austrian composer Franz Schreker (1878-1934) and was a conductor in several small German theaters. He taught at Vassar College (1939-42) and Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minn. (1942-47); he later settled in Palm Springs, Calif. After early atonal, experimental works such as the opera Orpheus and Eurydice (1923; text by the Austrian painter-poet Oskar Kokoschka), he turned to a jazz-influenced style in his sensationally successful opera Jonny Spielt Auf (1927; Johnny Strikes Up the Band). Among his neoromantic works is the opera The Life of Orestes (1930). After 1933 his works are mainly in the twelve-tone system; they include the opera Charles V (1933) and his Symphony No. 4 (1947). The oratorio Spiritus Intelligentiae (1957) uses voices and electronic instruments. Krenek's books include the influential Studies in Counterpoint (1940), on the twelve-tone system.

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