Hans Gál and his Contribution to Émigré Music

Open Access
Guarriello, Marissa L
Area of Honors:
Music Education
Bachelor of Music Education
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Charles Dowell Youmans, Thesis Supervisor
  • Linda Carol Porter Thornton, Honors Advisor
  • Gál
  • music
  • world war II music
  • Émigré
  • internment
World War II was a devastating time for millions of people around the world forcing them out of their countries, neighborhoods and homes. It changed the course of history and brought with it unforeseen outcomes. One important aspect sometimes overlooked is how the war affected the arts and the people creating art. Musicians and composers, particularly of Jewish descent, were forced to stop their creating, to move, and often to go into hiding. Among them was composer Hans Gál. Born into a Jewish, Viennese family, Gál quickly rose to musical success in the 1920’s. However, the world wars shook his life twice, eventually forcing him out the country. Fleeing to United Kingdom, Gál was interned before reaching freedom and eventually establishing a life in Edinburgh. Though he produced some extremely popular music during his brief moment of fame in the early 1900’s, Gál’s music is largely forgotten today due to the Nazis banning his music during World War II and a weak recovery after the war ended. Aiming to bring awareness to Gál, one of many of a generation of forgotten composers, this thesis takes a deeper look into the life, music, and success of composer Hans Gál, who left a significant but underappreciated mark on music of the twentieth century. With an undying love for life and music, Gál was able to overcome some of the hardest times, eventually becoming an overwhelmingly successful author, teacher, composer, and performer whose life deserves to be better known.