The great composer of symphonic music, Arnold Schoenberg, has come to America for six months to teach at the Malkin Conservatory in Boston. He is a German Jew who voluntarily left his native land to live permanently in Paris, where he studies, writes and gives instruction.
Interviewed at the Hotel Ansonia where he is stopping before taking up his duties in the Malkin school, Mr. Schoenberg related in halting English how he happened to return to Judaism ten years ago after lifetime membership in the Lutheran Church. He was born of Jewish parents.
“I was always a Jew inside,” said Mr. Schoenberg. “Ten years ago I decided that I could not do without Judaism. I was readmitted officially into the fold at Paris a few months ago.”
He is a small man, dark, with olive skin and Semitic features. He is modest and not very talkative, for all his great talent.
Mr. Schoenberg is interested in Jewish affairs, and is an ardent Zionist. He believes that Palestine will never be settled as a national homeland until world Jewry “is ready to give its life blood” to attain this end. In principle, it is his view that a country must have a military basis. Without such a basis, he said, Palestine can never become a Jewish state.
How soon the problems confronting the Jew the world over can be solved, Mr. Schoenberg couldn’t say. He is deeply concerned. But there is his music.
With pride he said that he is planning to write choral music, using themes from Jewish history.
His hands moved with the effort to express himself. They are interesting hands, muscular and ivory-white, with strong fingers. They have a personality of their own.