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German, later American, pianist and teacher.

Career Summary

Clara Damrosch was the daughter of the violinist, conductor, and composer Leopold Damrosch (1832‒85), who moved from Breslau to New York in 1871. Clara studied piano in New York as a child, then in Dresden, later in Berlin with Busoni (1897). In 1898 she married the American violinist, conductor, and educator David Mannes. For twenty years she toured with him, giving recitals.

In 1916 the couple founded the David Mannes Music School, of which they were co-directors.

The Schenker Circle and Clara Mannes

David and Clara Mannes appointed Schenker's pupil Hans Weisse in 1931 to teach music theory, and subsequently Weisse's and Schenker's pupil Felix Salzer, and in so doing made the Mannes School of Music the principal vehicle for the transmission of Schenker's theories into the United States. When Weisse first arrived in New York in September 1931, David and Clara, Weisse reported to Schenker: "look after me as parents, in whose home a thoroughly European atmosphere reigns, and with whom collaboration is an unalloyed pleasure" (OJ 15/16, [82]).


  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1971)

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  • OJ 6/7, [36] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated December 29, 1927

    Sending greetings for the New Year, Schenker expresses the hope that his friend's fortunes will begin to improve in 1928. He agrees with Violin's pronouncements on Vrieslander’s character and ability to convey Schenker's thoughts, and has no idea of what to expect in Vrieslander's (supposedly) forthcoming monograph on him. Weisse, whom he regards as a more skilled interpreter of his work, has announced plans for a monthly journal, Die Tonkunst, to be edited with his pupils Oswald Jonas and Felix Salzer, which will be based exclusively on Schenker's theoretical approach. But he is afraid that Weisse might leave Vienna, to teach at Damrosch's music school.

  • OJ 15/16, [82] Handwritten letter from Weisse to Schenker, dated October 15, 1931

    Weisse describes his new life in America; — is touched by the spirit that pervades the Mannes Music School; — has given a lecture to the faculty on the role of a theorist in a music school. — He reports that he has 22 pupils, and is about to meet George A. Wedge, Dean of the Institute of Musical Art. — He asks whether Schenker has had any news from Hamburg.

  • OJ 15/16, [90] Handwritten letter from Hans Weisse to Schenker, dated March 17, 1933

    Weisse reports the success of his lecture on the C minor prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. — He is currently giving two lectures on a Haydn's sonata. — He inquires about the possibility of having Schenker's foreground graphs for the "Eroica" Symphony printed separately and sold to his pupils, for a series of lectures planned for the following year; the profits entirely to Schenker. — He sees little prospect visiting Europe in the summer, as his financial situation has worsened: the Mannes School has been forced to reduce his teaching for the next season. — He expresses his doubts about Vrieslander's ability to reshape Schenker's Harmonielehre as a school textbook, and about the value of Harmonielehre itself in the light of his teacher's most advanced theoretical ideas.