Marko Rothmüller

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Marko Rothmüller
Marko Rothmüller.jpg
Born(1908-12-31)31 December 1908
Trnjani, near Slavonski Brod, Austro-Hungarian Empire, (now Croatia)
Died20 January 1993(1993-01-20) (aged 84)
Bloomington, Indiana, United States
Alma materUniversity of Zagreb
OccupationBaritone, composer, pianist

Marko Rothmüller (born Aaron Rothmüller; 31 December 1908 – 20 January 1993) was a Croatian operatic baritone, composer and pianist.

Early life and education[edit]

Rothmüller was born in the village of Trnjani near Slavonski Brod to a Jewish family,[1][2] which owned a store. He was raised with five siblings (three brothers and two sisters); Branko, Avraham, Erich, Tilika and Elvira. When he was four, Rothmüller moved to Zagreb with his parents Josef and Ana (née Hahn) Rothmüller.[3] Rothmüller studied at Zagreb Music Academy at the University of Zagreb. He later went to Vienna to train under Regina Weiss, Franz Steiner and Alban Berg. He lived and worked in Zagreb until 1935.[4][5][6]


Rothmüller was an artist of exceptional musical culture. In 1932 Rothmüller made his debut in Hamburg, with the role of Ottkoara, and was immediately ranked among the leading European interpreters of heroic baritone rôles. Because of antisemitism in Nazi Germany, Rothmüller returned home to Zagreb in 1933. In 1935 he moved to Zurich, where until 1947 he was a permanent member of the Zurich opera emphasizing the roles in Verdi and Wagner operas. Between 1946 and 1949, he was a member of the Vienna State Opera. In London's Royal Opera House, Rothmüller made his debut in 1939 under the direction of Sir Thomas Beecham. Rothmüller was permanent member of the Royal Opera House from 1948 until 1952. In the Glyndebourne Opera House he performed from 1949 until 1955. Occasionally he also appeared in Edinburgh opera. He appeared on British television in performances of Macbeth and La Forza del Destino. HMV issued a few 78 rpm records on their plum label featuring Rothmüller in rôles from Così fan Tutte, Zauberflöte, Tannhäuser, Rigoletto, Tosca and Andrea Chenier. The Verdi and Puccini performances were much admired in The Record Guide, but the discs were soon deleted and are now very rare. Rothmüller made his debut in United States in 1948, at the New York City Opera. He often performed on the concerts and opera stages across United States. Rothmüller debuted at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, in 1959 and performed there until 1961, and again in season 1964/65. In 1955 he was appointed as the professor of singing at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. His interest in the Jewish music prompted him to research its history. He arranged the Sephardi folk songs, and in Zagreb in 1932, and Zurich in 1942, Rothmüller founded Omanut, society for the fostering of Jewish music. He was a master of the song interpretation. Rothmüller also wrote a book on the history of Jewish music.[4][5][6][7]

Personal life[edit]

Rothmüller was married to Ela (née Reiss) with whom he had two sons, Ilan and Daniel. He died in Bloomington Indiana, on 20 January 1993, and was survived by his second wife, Margrit.[4][5][6]


  • Three Palestinian folk songs for mixed chorus and piano, Vienna 1931.
  • Hajimu Nahmanu Bjaliku u spomen for violin, viola and violoncello, Zagreb 1936.
  • Divertimento for solo trombone, timpani and string orchestra, London 1955.
  • Mit Shakespeares XXX. Sonett for string quartet, published in: C.T.Frey-Wehrlin, ur., Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag C.A. Meier (Zürich, 1965) 9-13.
  • Religious Sephardic folk songs
  • Symphony for strings
  • Two string quartets

Scientific work[edit]

  • Die Musik der Juden: Versuch einer geschichtlichen Darstellung ihrer Entwicklung (Zürich, 1951.)
  • The Music of the Jews: An Historical Appreciation (London, 1953; New York, 1954 i 1960; Cranbury 1975.)
  • Pronunciation of German Diction: Guidelines and Exercises for the Pronunciation of German in Speech and in Singing for Speakers of English (Bloomington, Indiana 1978.)


  1. ^ Snješka Knežević (2011, p. 107)
  2. ^ Ognjen Kraus (1998, p. 241)
  3. ^ Stribor Uzelac Schwendemann: Dogodilo se jednom u Brodu, Slavonski Brod, 2008., str. 35, 40, 529.
  4. ^ a b c Forbes, Elizabeth (1993-02-05). "Obituary: Marko Rothmuller". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  5. ^ a b c Saxon, Wolfgang (1993-01-22). "Marko Rothmuller, 84, Baritone And a Writer of Sephardic Songs". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  6. ^ a b c Oliver, Myrna (1993-01-22). "Marko Rothmuller; Baritone With N.Y. Metropolitan Opera". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  7. ^ (in Croatian) Ha-Kol (Glasilo Židovske zajednice u Hrvatskoj); 100 godina od rođenja Marka Rothmüllera; stranica 32; broj 103, siječanj / veljača 2008.


  • Snješka Knežević, Aleksander Laslo (2011). Židovski Zagreb. Zagreb: AGM, Židovska općina Zagreb. ISBN 978-953-174-393-8.
  • Kraus, Ognjen (1998). Dva stoljeća povijesti i kulture Židova u Zagrebu i Hrvatskoj. Zagreb: Židovska općina Zagreb. ISBN 953-96836-2-9.

External links[edit]