Paul Wittgenstein plays piano for composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Los Angeles, 1934 – CC BY 4.0 Deed, retrieved from:
(The photo has been cropped. The quotations were added by E. Reisinger and are from a draft contract between Wittgenstein and Korngold from 1926, preserved at the Library of Congress, Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund.)

For centuries, the funding and promotion of new compositions in the sphere of “classical” music (in the broadest sense) was provided by the social and economic elites. From the early twentieth century, performers increasingly also appear in this position, for instance, as commissioners for composers. Historiography of music, for a long time focusing on the (autonomous) work and its author (the independent, foremost male and white genius), has barely turned its interest to this phenomenon. The research presented here highlights the involvement of performers in the process of musical creation and repertoire formation, and addresses questions on social, economic, and legal conditions, artistic collaborations, and the afterlife of the musical result.

In the blog section of this website, I will document my research in the field of performer patronage, currently focusing on early twentieth century-musicians, present archival findings, and introduce case studies of outstanding performers, who essentially shaped their instruments’ repertoire. Additionally, announcements for lectures, publications, conferences, and other events (such as concerts) will be published.

Check out the report about the International Workshop”Historical Perspectives on Musical Commissions” in the blog section!