Documents associated with this person:

Concert pianist, composer, and teacher; Schenker's closest friend.

Career Summary

  Photograph of Moriz Violin.
Moriz Violin, c. 1901 (OJ 72/23, No. 6)

Violin was winner of the Brahms Prize in composition of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1894, and a founding member of the Violin-Fischer-Klengel trio in Vienna and the Violin-Van den Berg-Buxbaum trio in Berlin. Violin taught in the piano Ausbildungsklasse at the Vienna Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst (= Conservatory) from 1908 (or 1909) to 1912, in which year he resigned from the Conservatory staff in protest at the way in which the new administration was forcing established professors into retirement, treating other members of staff, and at their not appointing Schenker to a professorship in theory. He published his letter of protest as a 34-page pamphlet, Die Zustände an der k. k. Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst: Ein offenes Wort über die Leiter der Anstalt Herren v. Wiener und Bopp [Conditions at the Imperial-Royal Academy for Music and Performing Arts: a word about the leaders of the institution, Messrs von Wiener and Bopp] (Vienna: self-pubd, 1912 = OJ 70/49a); a letter regretting his resignation was signed by fifty-three of his colleagues (OJ 70/59).

  Photograph of Moriz Violin playing the piano.
Moriz Violin, c. 1950 (Eva Violin Windsor)

In 1921, Violin moved to Hamburg, taking up a position at the Conservatory (presumably the Vogt'sches Konservatorium) on April 1 and teaching there through the 1920s. In 1931, he established a private music school in Hamburg devoted to Schenker's theory: the Schenker-Institut, at which he taught piano and Felix-Eberhard von Cube theory. Violin fled Hamburg with the rise of Nazism c.May 1933 (see, e.g. OJ 9/34, [37], May 11, 1933, Cube to Schenker), leaving Cube to continue until the institute was closed down in 1934. In May/June 1939 Violin and his wife moved to the USA, settling in San Francisco. Despite strong support from Schoenberg, he found work difficult to procure.

Violin and Schenker

Violin, variously nicknamed "Floriz," "Fiorello," and "Florizello," was Schenker's oldest and closest friend (Schenker's own nickname to Violin may have been "Ophelius"). Their friendship began in 1896 and ended only with Schenker's death in 1935. He gave performances of Schenker's piano compositions, and he and Schenker gave the first performance of the latter's Syrian Dances for two pianos on January 26, 1900. Federhofer maintains that Schenker's pseudonym for his Instrumentations-Tabelle, "Artur Niloff," is in part an approximate anagram of "Violin".

Violin's booklet Über das sogenannte Continuo (Vienna: UE, 1910 - copies are preserved at OJ 70/49 and OC 6/2) was originally written as a program note for a "historical concert" that was to take place in the Akademie in 1910 but was cancelled.

Schenker characterized Violin's qualities in a letter of recommendation that he wrote to Wilhelm Furtwängler on November 5, 1919 (Sbb 55 Nachl. 13, [1]): He has an ear such as very few musicians of today possess. In keeping with the quality of his ear and of his intellect, he really should be in a permanent position, but fighting is not his forte, although, as is so often nature's way, he himself believes that he has the fighting spirit. […] his ear is unique, a masterstroke of nature, exactly what is needed for the connoisseur these days.

A glimpse of his personality, or of the two men's interaction, is perhaps given in a postcard by Schenker while he was waiting in Steinach in the Tyrol for Violin to turn up and comments: "All that was missing at today's first restaurant service were your criticisms and a readiness to find fault" (OJ 7/4, [52], July 7, 1909).

Correspondence and Other Documents

The Moriz Violin Papers are held as Box 70 of the Oswald Jonas Memorial Collection at the University of California, Riverside, Special Collections; biographical materials concerning Violin are OJ 70/57-66.

Surviving correspondence between Moriz and Valerie Violin and the Schenkers is in excess of 1,000 items. That from the Violins to the Schenkers is preserved as OJ 14/45 (1900-38: 96 items) and OC 24/4-5, 38/155, 346, 341, 415 (1921-31: 5 items); that from the Schenkers to the Violins as OJ 6/1-8, 7/1-4, and 8/1-5 (1896-1935: 921 items). Correspondence between Violin and others (including d'Albert, von Cube, Furtwängler, Mandyczewski, Messchaert, Schoenberg, Bruno Walter, and Weisse) is preserved as OJ 70/1-48a (1898-1953), and one item from Jonas to Violin as OJ 36/65 (1916). Other correspondence between Violin and Schoenberg is preserved in the Library of Congress Arnold Schoenberg Collection 7/50 (19 items) and 27/45 (37 items): the total Violin-Schoenberg correspondence comprises 63 items, spanning 1902 to 1950. Letters of recommendation for Violin by Busoni, Furtwängler, Goldschmidt, Schalk, Schoenberg, and Walter are preserved as OJ 70/67-72.

On February 12, 1940, Violin (in San Francisco), writing to Schoenberg (in Los Angeles), stated: Is it not all too comic that a letter to me from Joachim [and] one from Tolstoy really were stolen during my emigration, and a single postcard that I possessed from Brahms? Srangely enough, the approximately 1,500 letters that I have from Schenker, some from [Schoenberg] from youthful days, and from half of Vienna have remained safe and sound. (LC ASC 27/45, [19])

Violin's obituary for Schenker, "Zur Erinnerung an Heinrich Schenker," survives as OJ 70/54. Seventeen photographs of Violin are preserved as OJ 72/32, some of them including his mother, his brother, his son Raphael, and his daughter Eva, others showing him in groups.


  • Oster Collection Finding List
  • Jonas Memorial Collection Checklist
  • Federhofer, Hellmut, Heinrich Schenker nach Tagebüchern und Briefen ... (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1985)
  • Tittel, Ernst, Die Wiener Musikhochschule (Vienna: Lafite, 1967)
  • Documents on this website

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