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Leading Viennese music publisher; pioneer in publishing and performing rights.

Career Summary

Josef Weinberger was the son of Samuel Weinberger, Jewish goldsmith. Josef was an accomplished pianist, and also a fine singer, much involved with local choral societies. He established a joint music-publishing company, Josef Weinberger & Carl Hofbauer, in Vienna in 1885, then another joint with Carl Günther in Leipzig in 1889, but eventually set up his own company, Josef Weinberger, on the Kohlmarkt in Vienna in 1890, rapidly becoming a leading publisher of choral and light theatrical music (including that of Johann Strauss II and for a time Wolf-Ferrari and Franz Léhar), as well as publisher of more serious music, notably of Gustav Mahler.

Josef Weinberger became an influential figure in the establishment of publishing and performing rights in Austria. In 1897, he was a founder-member of the Society for Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Vienna [Gesellschaft der Autoren, Komponisten und Musikverleger in Wien (AKM)], of which he remained either chairman or honorary president for the rest of his life, and was instrumental in the recognition in Austria of the Berne Copyright Convention. He also established a pension and welfare fund for Austrian composers. He was awarded the rank of Imperial Counsellor [Kaiserlicher Rat] in 1903, and in 1908 was invested with the order of the Prussian Eagle [Preußischer Adlerorden].

Between 1896 and 1900, Weinberger discussed with Bernhard Herzmansky (of Vienna publisher Doblinger) and Adolf Robitschek, the establishment of a new Austrian music publishing company to rival those of Peters Edition and Breitkopf & Härtel in Germany. The new company, Universal Edition, was launched in 1901 on the basis of producing new collected editions, and also music for educational purposes. This company very quickly became the leading publisher of modern music in Austria, and one of the most powerful and influential music publishers in the world, and was housed in Weinberger's new premises at Maximiliamstraße (now Mahlerstraße) 11. Weinberger continued to be involved with Universal Edition for some time, and his name appears as signatory to many UE letters.

Josef Weinberger and Schenker

The two men were in contact between c. 1897 and 1905, exchanging correspondence and holding meetings. In all, twenty-six items of correspondence to Schenker survive with Weinberger as sole or joint signatory, or on his behalf (OJ 15/12, [1]‒[8], and [11], OC 52/1‒2, 8, 11, 13, 15‒17, 19, 381, 386‒387, 391‒393, 442‒443) on either Weinberger or Universal Edition business:

Weinberger business (9): three undated calling cards (OJ 15/12, [1]‒[3]) probably from the late 1890s; five letters with the Weinberger letterhead, OJ 15/12, [5] from 1900, OJ 15/12, [6]‒[8] and [11] from 1903; one letter with the UE letterhead, OC 52/11 from 1903 (the latter six all concerning Syrian Dances).

Universal Edition business (17): one postcard (OJ 15/12, [4]), fifteen letters (OC 52/1, 2, 8, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 386, 387, 381, 391, 393, 442, and 443) and one handwritten note (OC 52/392) dating from 1901‒05. (The Universal Edition business concerned the commissioning of Julius Röntgen as a J. S. Bach editor, Schenker's C. P. E. Bach Keyboard Works and A Contribution to the Study of Ornamentation , Handel Organ Concertos, and rejection of his Harmonielehre .)

No correspondence from Schenker to Weinberger is known to survive.


  • Grove Music Online ("Weinberger, Josef")
  • Johann Michel and Richard Toeman, 100 Jahre Bühen- und Musikalienverlag Josef Weinberger 1885‒1985 (Vienna: Weinberger, 1985)
  • 100 Years Remembered: A History of the Theatre and Music Publishers Josef Weinberger Vienna, Frankfurt am Main, London, 1885‒1985 (London: Weinberger, [1985])
  • Heinrich Schenker: Selected Correspondence, ed. Ian Bent, David Bretherton, and William Drabkin (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2015), esp. pp. 34, 41, 43, 59‒60, 62


  • Ian Bent

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