Monday, June 12, 2006

In Memorium, Felix Khuner: 1906 Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire - June 11, 1991 Berkeley, California, United States

"Felix Khuner was born and raised in Vienna. Trained in math and music, he had thought of becoming a mathematician, but when he was offered a place in the Kolisch Quartet at age nineteen and saw Arnold Schoenberg at one of the Quartet's rehearsals, he decided to join them instead. He played and toured with the Quartet for fifteen years, performing premieres and signal works of Schoenberg, Berg and Bartok. With the advent of Nazism he decided to settle in the United States, where he played with the San Francisco Symphony and Opera Orchestras for more than forty years.

Of his career, Khuner liked to say that he was a "useful" musician, but those who played with him marveled at his memory, his musical knowledge (he could cover nearly every orchestral part) and his outspoken opinions. [San Francisco Opera General Manager and Conductor, 1953-81] Kurt Adler solicited his advice often about orchestral matters, and on one occasion a cut in a score bothered him so much he offered Adler $200 not to make it." ...

Caroline Crawford "Interview History" Oral History Project, Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley

Arnold Schoenberg and Lucca Lehner shaking hands with Gertrud Schoenberg and Felix Khuner (my violin teacher) at the net, at the conclusion of a tennis doubles game in Los Angeles, in the summer of 1937.

Photo credit: (c) Arnold Schoenberg Archives of the University of Southern California. With thanks. schoenberg/ph1255.htm


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