Karol Rathaus (Karl Leonhard Bruno Rathaus; also Leonhard Bruno; * 16 September 1895 in Tarnopol (Galicia), Austro-Hungary, today Ukraine; † 21 November 1954 in Flushing/New York City) was a German-Austrian composer, who emigrated to the USA.
He began composing at an early age and began in 1913/1914 to study at the Academy of Performing Arts and Music in Vienna, which was interrupted by his military service during the First World War 1918/1919. As one of the favorite pupils of Franz Schreker he followed him at the Academy of Music in Berlin, where he continued to study music and composition. After graduation, Rathaus had in the 1920s the position of a teacher of composition and music theory at the Berlin University of the Arts. This was followed by first compositions with which he caused a sensation and achieved great success.
After his 1930 opera Fremde Erde Rathaus also created film music and was among the artistically outstanding film composers in Germany before 1933. He wrote the music for three films by Fyodor Ozeps. In 1933 he went to Paris and lived in London from 1934 to 1938, before he finally settled in New York. There he became a professor of composition at Queens College, in this position, he achieved prestige and popularity. In addition, he was also successful as a composer. In addition to commissioned works, he also wrote several film scores. He died in 1954 in New York.
His compositional output includes mostly instrumental works, such as symphonies, orchestral works, serenades, sonatas and ballets. He saw his compositions in the tradition of Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Igor Stravinsky and his teacher Franz Schreker.
In the Third Reich, his compositions were classified as "degenerate art" and assigned a performance ban.
Rathaus was married to Gerta and had a son named Bernt.
- Karol Rathaus—An American Composer of Polish Origin... (Polish Music Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, Summer 2003, article by Martin Schüssler)
- Karol Rathaus at the Internet Movie Database