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Victor Fenigstein

 b. 1924(© Alix von Wyl)

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Comes from a Jewish family, which, having been expelled from Wroclaw, settled down in Zurich * at a young age enthusiasm for the violin, then piano lessons with Emil Frey * winner of the competition for the position of professor for piano at the Luxembourg Conservatoire in 1948 * in 1952, Fenigstein is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which puts an abrupt end to his career as a pianist * afterwards he turns towards composition, where his skills are primarily self-taught * at first, his idols are Schumann and Beethoven, then, in later years, Schoenberg’s student Anton Webern, Béla Bartók, and Dmitri Shostakovich * many of his compositions are responses to current events * the cantata Et le jour se leva pour lui (1953) is a reaction to the ongoing Cold War; Etudes concertantes "i muratori" (1967) is sort of a requiem for the guest-workers, who died in the mining disaster of Marcinelle; with Seventeen Millions (1979) Fenigstein wants to draw attention to the starvation death of yearly seventeen million infants * despite severe illness he completes the three-hour works Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe and settings of the complete 154 Shakespeare sonnets * afterwards publication of several works with reduced scoring, e.g. Die Ballade vom Reichtagsbrand with texts by Bertolt Brecht and Eight melodies without words and seven variations

Works by Victor Fenigstein include:
Memento et épitaphe pour saxophone alto et piano (1981)
Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe (1982–1984) songplay in 5 acts for the operatic stage
Musikalische Augenblicke (Die Amsel) (2003) for large orchestra


"By no means did I want to belong to the so-called avant garde. My main concern was to be a witness of my century." — Victor Fenigstein

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