Albert Moeschinger

Moeschiner, Albert


Albert Moeschinger was born in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. As a young man he first underwent training in banking before studying piano and music theory. He continued his training first in Leipzig and then in Munich under Walter Courvoisier. From 1937–1943 he taught music theory at the Bern Conservatory. After a skiing accident he settled in the village of Saas Fee in the Swiss canton Valais. By then he had made a reputation as a composer and was now able to devote himself exclusively to composition. Among his supporters were the conductor and benefactor Paul Sacher. From 1956 Moeschinger lived in Ascona, on the Lago maggiore in the canton of Ticino.

Together with Othmar Schoeck, Arthur Honegger, Vladimir Vogel, and Frank Martin, Moeschinger belongs to the older generation of contemporary Swiss composers. At first influenced by the works of Max Reger and Richard Strauss, Moeschinger’s music evolved from an expressive and differentiated harmonic language to atonality: inspired by Thomas Mann’s novel “Doctor Faustus,” Moeschinger adopted twelve-tone music, beginning in 1956. Later, he also adopted serialism in his virtuosic chamber music and orchestral works. Opera was the only genre he neglected to explore. His expressive personal style – which was never bound by tradition – can be characterized as a unique synthesis between the German and French sound universe.

Moeschinger’s works were performed by conductors such as Paul Sacher, Ernest Ansermet, Hans Rosbaud, and Hermann Scherchen.

In 1953 Moeschinger received the Kunstpreis of the City of Basel; in 1957 he was awarded the composition prize by the Schweizerischer Tonkünstlerverein; and in 1981 he won the music prize of the canton Bern. He died in 1985 in Thun, Switzerland.