German composer. He collaborated with the playwright Bertolt Brecht, but their work displeased the Nazis, and both men fled Nazi Germany for the USA. Eisler returned to East Berlin in 1950. The music he wrote for the new communist state consisted chiefly of songs and music for stage and films.
He studied with Arnold Schoenberg in Vienna, Austria, and won a composition prize in 1924. He taught in Berlin 1925–33, but emigrated to the USA when a price was put on his head for his interest in music for the proletariat and in anti-Nazi activities. He was appointed professor at the New School of Social Research there, but left the USA in 1948, living first in Vienna and then returning to East Berlin.
WorksStage operas Galileo (1947) and Johannes Faustus (1953); didactic plays Mother (after Gorky's novel; 1931), Hangmen Also Die, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Roundheads and the Pointedheads, and others; Die Massnahme (1930), Lenin-Requiem (1937), Solidaritätslied (1930), Kinderlieder (1951), and Schweyk in Zweiten Weltkrieg (1957), all to texts by Brecht.
Orchestral orchestral suites on Russian and Jewish folk songs.
VocalGerman Symphony for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra (1935–39), cantatas, choral ballads, proletarian songs, and other pieces; chamber cantata Palmström for speech-song, flute, clarinet, violin, and cello; Zeitungsausschnitte for voice and piano; Ernste Gesänge for baritone and orchestra (1962).
Chamber string quartet (1937), nonet (1939), two septets (1941, 1947), piano quintet (1944).
Other music for numerous films.