Moscou, 29 II 1896 - Zurich, 19 VI 1984
Wladimir Rudolfowitsch Vogel was
born the son of German-Russian parents in Moscow. His family were interned was
during the First World War because of their German ancestry. He first studied composition in Moscow with Scriabin.
Following the end of the war, Vogel was able to
travel to Berlin where he studied composition under the tutelage of Heinz
Thiessen (1919-1921) and Ferruccio
Busoni (1921-1924). He subsequently worked as a composer and teacher of composition (1929-33) at the Klindworth-Scharwenka-Konservatorium. He was close to the expressionist circle around Herwarth Walden and was active (together with George Antheil, Hanns Eisler, Philipp Jarnach, Stefan Wolpe, and Kurt Weill) in the music section of the November Group of Max Butting and Hans
In 1933, because of his affinity with the Arbeitermusikbewegung (Communist oriented labor movement) and branded a “degenerate artist” by the Nazi regime, he left Germany and went to Strasbourg, Brussels, Paris, and London. He first turned to twelve-tone technique with his Violin Concerto in 1937. From 1939 he lived in Switzerland, at first in Ascona in Tessin and from 1964 in Zürich. Until he became a Swiss citizen in 1954, he was not allowed to work in Switzerland, and relied on the support of wealthy patrons and his wife, the writer Aline Valangin. During this time, he taught composition privately, was active in the ISCM, participated in Hermann Scherchen’s ‘Sessions d’études musicales et dramatiques’ in Strasbourg, and organized the International Twelve-Tone Music pre-conference in Osilina in 1949. His students include Erik Bergman, Maurice Karkoff, Robert Suter, Einojuhani Rautavaara, and Rolf Liebermann.
Of The Twentieth Century Avant Garde
A Biocritical Sourcebook
Edited By Larry Sitsky