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Director of the Vienna Conservatory of Music (Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst), 1907–19.

Career Summary

Bopp succeeded Richard von Perger as Director just as the Conservatory was undergoing transformation from a private institution under the aegis of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde to a state institution with the title Kaiserlich-königliche Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Imperial-Royal Academy for Music and the Performing Arts). It fell to Bopp to propel that transformation forward, and to steer the Conservatory through the war years. The statutes having been promulgated on November 22, 1908, the new institution came into existence on January 1, 1909.

Bopp was a reformer who sought to bring the Conservatory's teaching faculty and curriculum up to date, and saw the institution's role as a synthesis between historical consciousness and engagement with contemporary musical idioms. His new syllabus was under review from March 1909 and came into force in time for January 1910. After twelve years, Bopp was voted out of his position by the faculty on March 27, 1919. He subsequently worked as a music critic in Mannheim.

Bopp and Schenker

Schenker disagreed intensely with Bopp's modernizing policies at the Akademie, and complained bitterly at the enforced retirements—particularly of those who had belonged to the Brahms circle—during the transitional years. In December 1908, Bopp, via Emil Hertzka, invited Schenker to provide the Conservatory with a new edition of Bach's Well-tempered Clavier, Book II. Schenker declined.

This issue re-emerged in early June 1911, when an interview took place with Bopp regarding the coordinated publication by Universal Edition of editions by Schenker of Bach's Well-tempered Clavier, Book II, and the last five piano sonatas of Beethoven, allegedly endorsed by the President of the Academy, Karl von Wiener. In reaction to what he saw as foot-dragging by the two officials, Schenker published a notice on June 3 in several newspapers announcing a series of lectures designed as a veiled attack on the Academy. This sequence of events is recorded in a long diary entry (OJ 1/10, pp. 131r–131a). The dispute simmered through the summer, dying down in mid-September, the long-term outcome being Schenker's Die letzten fünf Sonaten von Beethoven (1913, 1914, 1915, 1920), published by UE but not in association with the Academy.

Correspondence with Schenker

Correspondence between Schenker and Bopp survives as OJ 9/18 (5 letters, 1910–11). Correspondence with the Conservatory from Bopp's time survives as OJ 5/4 (4 letters, 1915–27).

Sources:

  • Tittel, Ernst, Die Wiener Musikhochschule: Vom Konservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde zur staatlichen Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Vienna: Elizabeth Lafite, 1967)
  • Bent, Ian, "'That Bright New Light': Schenker, Universal Edition, and the Origins of the Erläuterung Series, 1901–1910," Journal of the American Musicological Society 58/1 (Spring 2005), 69–138

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Correspondence

Diaries