Johanna Müller-Hermann

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Johanna Müller-Hermann (15 January 1878 – 19 April 1941) was an Austrian composer and pedagogue.


She gave up her career as a primary school teacher after her marriage and became a composer.[1] She studied under Alexander von Zemlinsky and Josef Foerster, and took over from Foerster as a theory and composition tutor at the New Vienna Conservatory in 1918.[1] She was one of the foremost European female composers of orchestral and chamber music in her day. Despite her contemporary fame, not much has been written about her.[2]

According to Dr Carola Darwin, "The contribution of women to Vienna’s creative life at this period has been largely forgotten as the result of Nazi ideology, as well as the general destruction of the Second World War... Johanna Müller-Hermann’s works deserve a much wider hearing, not only because of their intrinsic quality, but also because they were an integral part of the Vienna’s extraordinary creative flowering."[1]


Müller-Hermann wrote an oratorio, Lied der Erinnerung: In Memoriam, to a text by Walt Whitman, and a symphonic fantasy on the Ibsen play Brand.[1] Her Lied der Erinnerung: In Memoriam (1930) is a work of grand scale. It employs a large orchestra, a chorus, and solo voices. This piece follows the tradition of Arnold Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder. Müller-Hermann may have been directly acquainted with Schoenberg, as suggested by a letter she wrote to him in 1911.[2]

Vocal Music[edit]

  • Sieben Lieder, op. 1 (for solo voice and piano, Gutmann, 1895)
  • Fünf Lieder, op. 2 (for solo voice and piano)
  • Vier Lieder, op. 4 (for solo voice and piano)
  • Zwei Frauenchöre mit Orchester, op. 10
  • Vier Lieder, op. 14, after J. P. Jacobsen for 1 voice with piano accompaniment. 1. Landschaft. 2. Sonnenuntergang. Den Lenz laß kommen. Polka. (1915, dedicated to Alma Mahler-Werfel)
  • Drei Lieder, op. 19
  • Vier Lieder, op. 20
  • Deutscher Schwur für Männerchor und Orchester, op. 22
  • Herbstlieder, op. 28
  • Drei Lieder, op. 32 (Nr. 1 with orchestral accompaniment). 1. Vorfrühling ('Early Spring'); poem by Hugo von Hofmannsthal).[3]
  • Zwei Gesänge für eine Singstimme mit Orchester, op. 33. l. Trauminsel ('Dream Island'). 2. Liebeshymnus ('Hymn to Love'). Poet for both is Tona Hermann.[4]


  • Lied der Erinnerung, op. 30

Chamber Music[edit]

  • Streichquartett Es-Dur, op. 6


  • Sonate d-Moll für Violine und Klavier, op. 5
  • Sonate für Violoncello und Klavier, op. 17


  • Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians; 8th ed.; revised by Nicolas Slonimsky, 1992, p. 1275
  1. ^ a b c d The women erased from musical history BBC Radio 3 programme notes 8-Mar-2018
  2. ^ a b Kramer, L., Walt Whitman and Modern Music: War, Desire, and the Trials of Nationhood, volume 1, Psychology Press, 2000, p.58.
  3. ^ Vorfrühling performance here. Text and English translation here
  4. ^ Texts and translations here.

Further reading[edit]

  • M. Schneider: Müller-Martini, Johanna; geb. von Hermann (Herman), Ps. Müller-Hermann (1868–1941). In: Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950 (ÖBL). Volume 6, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1975, ISBN 3-7001-0128-7, S. 430. (in German)
  • Alfred Baumgartner: Propyläen Welt der Musik - Die Komponisten - Ein Lexikon in fünf Bänden. Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-549-07830-7, S.129, Volume 4. (in German)
  • Elena Ostleitner: Müller-Hermann, Johanna, in: Brigitta Keintzel, Ilse Korotin (Hrsg.): Wissenschafterinnen in und aus Österreich : Leben – Werk – Wirken. Vienna : Böhlau, 2002 ISBN 3-205-99467-1, S. 526f. (in German)