Austrian composer and conductor. He gave the first performance of Schoenberg's monodrama Erwartung in 1924. He taught Schoenberg and married his sister, but his personal ties with Schoenberg scarcely influenced his own music; he started composing in a classical style and later was drawn to the progressive, late-Romantic style of Mahler, Strauss, and even Schreker.
Zemlinsky studied at the Vienna Conservatory. He became conductor at the Vienna Volksoper in 1906 and at the Hofoper in 1908. Later he went to Prague, where he conducted the German Opera and the 1924 first performance of Schoenberg's Erwartung. He was one of the conductors at the Berlin State Opera and at the Kroll Opera 1927–31, where he gave the first Berlin performance of Erwartung. He returned to Vienna in 1933 and later emigrated to the USA.
WorksOpera and stage operas, including Sarema (1897), Es war einmal (1900), Kleider machen Leute (Keller, 1908, produced 1922), Eine florentinische Tragödie, Der Zwerg (both after Wilde, 1917, 1922), Der Kreidekreis (after Klabund, 1933), Der Traumgörge (1906, produced 1980), Der König Kandaules (c. 1935, produced 1996); ballet Das gläserne Herz (after Hofmannsthal, 1903); incidental music for Cymbeline (1914).
Orchestral two symphonies (1892, 1897), suite for orchestra (1894), Die Seejungfrau for orchestra (1903), sinfonietta (1934), Lyric Symphony for soprano, baritone, and orchestra (1923), Symphonische Gesänge for voice and orchestra (1926).
Chamber string quintet (1895), trio for clarinet, cello, and piano (1895), four string quartets (1895–1936); lieder to texts by Heine and Eichendorff.