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    Paul Hindemith, Composer

    Born: 1895 | Died: 1963

    Born in Hanau near Frankfurt, Paul Hindemith started violin lessons at the age of nine. Soon he began to earn his living at a young age by taking almost any kind of musical job, including violin performances in cafes and theaters.

    In 1915 he became the leader of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra while his own compositions were played at various music festivals. Throughout his career Hindemith was very influential with his methods and pioneered what he called "Gebrauchsmusik," or music for everyday occasions. His teaching methods also differed from those of his fellow contemporaries. He approached composing music as a craftsman rather than as an artist.

    When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Hindemith's work was increasingly restricted because it was considered Bolshevik. Hindemith left Germany in 1938 and eventually settled in the United States in 1940. He took a teaching position at Yale University and in 1946, he and his wife Gertrud von Rottenberg became American citizens. Hindemith returned to Switzerland a few years later to teach at Zürich University, but gave up teaching in 1957 to concentrate on composing and conducting. He died in Frankfurt in 1963.