Paul Amadeus Pisk; 'Man of Music,' Schoenberg Protege

One of the last surviving students of renowned Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg and Austrian musicologist Guido Adler has died at the age of 96.

Paul Amadeus Pisk, an Austrian-American composer, pedagogue and musicologist, died at his Hollywood home late Friday morning. With Pisk was his 71-year-old caretaker of nine years, Anna May Payne.

Payne, who called Pisk "Papa," said: "What the world has lost is a great, wonderful man of music." A recurring back injury had left Pisk bedridden for the last 13 months, she said.

Born in Vienna in 1893, Pisk had been an accomplished pianist, composer, teacher and music critic for a newspaper before immigrating to the United States in 1936. Once here, Pisk taught at Dartmouth College, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Redlands, University of Texas at Austin, USC, UCLA and the University of Cincinnati.

Although Pisk's musical style, characterized by some experts as neo-renaissance, was not as popular as Schoenberg's, it was unique and widely respected by music scholars, said Dr. Ellis Kohs, a friend and colleague from USC.

In addition to his compositions, Pisk wrote numerous books and articles on music, said Nicolas Slonimsky, a friend and colleague of Pisk's. A founding member of the International Society for Contemporary Music, Pisk also belonged to the American Musicological Society, said Leonard Stein, director of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at USC.

A tribute concert of his work was held at Cal State Northridge on Pisk's 90th birthday, and the Schoenberg Institute at USC made Pisk an honorary life member, Stein said. Later this spring, Stein said, a concert will be held in Pisk's memory.

Pisk is survived by a son, George, 55, of Austin, Tex.

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