Arnold Schoenberg was the founder of the second Viennese school of musical composition (the first Viennese school is that of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Mozart). Schoenberg was one of the most innovative and influential composers of the 20th century. He is credited with the invention of serialism, or 12-tone music, method of composing with twelve notes related only to one another. It is a form of atonality, or lack of reference to a key or tonal center. In it, he broke with a system of tonal organization that had developed over hundreds of years and had become a trademark of Western music. Arnold Franz Walter Schoenberg was born in Vienna, Austria, on September 13, 1874. He learned to play the violin as a child and later taught himself the cello. Almost entirely self-taught as a composer, he shaped his work after that of Johannes Brahms. In 1926 Schoenberg went to Berlin, Germany, to teach at the Prussian Academy of Arts. In 1933 he was forced, as a Jew, to leave Berlin. Ironically, he had converted to Lutheranism in 1898, but after fleeing to Paris he renounced the Christian faith and returned to Judaism. In 1934 he immigrated to the United States and in 1936 began teaching at UCLA. It was there that he returned to tonal composition. .
After a heart attack in 1945, however, he gave up teaching and made some return to expressionism, which is when he composed A Survivor from Warsaw, String Trio. Can there be poetry after Auschwitz? A question posted by Theodore Adorno and resolved by Schoenberg. When World War II ended and the terrible secret of the Holocaust was revealed, Schoenberg was deeply shaken. .
Holocaust was period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Although anti-Semitism in Europe has a long history, persecution of German Jews began with Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Jews were disenfranchised, and then terrorized in anti-Jewish, forced into the ghettos, their property seized, and finally were sent to concentration camps.