Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alfred Einstein (December 30, 1880–February 13, 1952), was a German-American musicologist and music editor. He was noted as one of the widest-ranging music historians in the first half of the 20th century.
He was born in Munich. Though originally he studied law, he quickly realized his principal love was music, and acquired a doctorate at Munich University, focusing on instrumental music of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. In 1918 he became the first editor of the Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft; slightly later he became music critic for the Münchner Post; and in 1927 became music critic for the Berliner Tageblatt. In 1933, after Hitler's rise to power, he left Germany, moving first to London, then to Italy, and finally to the United States in 1939, where he held a succession of teaching jobs at universities including Smith College, Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Michigan, and the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut.
Einstein not only researched and wrote detailed works on specific topics, but wrote popular histories of music, including the Short History of Music (1917), and Greatness in Music (1941). In addition he published a revision of the Köchel catalog of Mozart's music (1937), and a comprehensive book The Italian Madrigal (1949) on the secular Italian form, the first detailed study of the subject.
Possible relationship to Albert
While one respected source lists Alfred as a cousin of the scientist Albert Einstein (1), another claims that no relationship has been verified (2). It is possible that they were distant cousins: for example,  claims that they were both descended from a Moyses Einstein seven generations back, hence were sixth cousins.
Einstein in Popular Culture
In the film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Alfred Einstein is mentioned presuambly as a mispronounciation of Albert Einstein. It is unknown whether the filmmakers were conscious that there actually was a well-known Alfred Einstein.
References and further reading
- (1) Article "Alfred Einstein", in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1561591742
- (2) The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed. Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York, Schirmer Books, 1993. ISBN 002872416X
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