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Hugo Wolf By Lena (Morgan Boehm) Hugo Wolf was born March 13, 1860 in northern Slovenia. When Wolf was 4 years old, his father taught him Violin and Piano. When he started Primary school, he studied piano and music theory with Sebastian Weixler.

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Hugo Wolf

By Lena

(Morgan Boehm)


Hugo Wolf was born March 13, 1860 in northern Slovenia.

When Wolf was 4 years old, his father taught him Violin and Piano. When he started

Primary school, he studied piano and music theory with Sebastian Weixler.

Any other subject other than music failed to hold his interest, and he was dismissed from

His first secondary school for being “Wholly Inadequate”.

Wolf left 2 other schools as well, the first one for difficulties in the compulsory Latin studies,

and the other from a falling out with one of his professors.

Wolf then went on to the Vienna Conservatory, where he was again dismissed from

The school for “Breach of Discipline”

Wolf claimed he quit the school out of frustration of the schools conservatism.

Wolf contracted Syphilis as a teenager.


Wolf went to the Vienna Conservatory to teach.

Even though his fiery

Temperament Wasn’t ideal for teaching,

his talent and personal charm earned him

a lot of attention and sponsorship.

The support of his sponsors allowed Wolf to make his

living as a composer/teacher, a daughter of one of the

sponsors inspired him quite a bit. Her name was

Valentine Franck, she was his first love, they were

involved for over three years. She left him just shy of

his 21st birthday, and a heartbroken Wolf returned


Wolf was prone to depression and mood swings

That had a big impact on his work throughout his life.

Wolf spent a year working in Salzburg as a second

Kapellmeister (Choir Master), during this time he

didn’t really accomplish anything which just reassured

his father that Wolf would never accomplish anything.

Within a year of working in Salzburg, Wolf

returned to Vienna to continue teaching

in the same circumstances that he was in

before he originally left.


Richard Wagner was Wolf’s greatest mentor and idol, when he died he felt tremendous despair and pressure to fill Wagner's shoes.

After Wagner’s death Wolf often isolated himself from his friends, but his music still charmed and inspired them.

The song. “Zur ruh, zur ruh” was composed shortly after the death of Wagner, and is considered to be the best of

His early works. It is though to be dedicated for Wagner.

Franz Liszt, a well respected friend who loved Wolf's music,became his new mentor.

Even though Wolf admired Liszt, he felt his music was too dry and academic, where as Wolf strove for color and

passion. Wolf was famous for using tones to reinforce moods and emotions in his music.

In 1887, Wolf stopped his work as a critic and began composing more, shortly after he Completed

italienische Serenade, which was regarded as one of his firstworks of mature style as a composer.

Although Spanish-influenced works were most popular at the time, Wolf opted to use poems

that were neglected by others, but that he saw potential in for his own music.

Wolf faced extensive amounts of criticism throughout his career, and although he lost

Many opportunities because of it, he never lost his passion and would not let it change him

or his works.

Exhaustion, depression, and syphilis once again began taking its’ toll on Wolf and his health,

as a result his composing went to rest for several years. He worked little on completing unfinished

compositions but did not start any new ones. His works were spreading throughout Austria and

Germany and were gaining popularity and receiving positive reviews.


A story about an adulterous love triangle, influenced Wolf’s

Last opera because it was one he could identify with.

He was in love with Melanie Koechert, and they had a long affair

Throughout much of her marriage to Wolf’s longtime friend and

Patron, Heinrich Koechert.

The Opera’s text was weak and it failed, never to be revived.


Wolfs Last concert appearance was in February of 1897.

Not long after, Wolf slipped into Syphilitic Insanity.

After mid 1899, Wolf no longer could compose music, and

he tried to drown himself.

At his own will, Wolf was placed in an asylum.

His lover, Melanie, visited him faithfully through his

decline, until his death on February 22, 1903.

The guilt from her lack of faith to her husband finally

got the best of her, and she killed herself 3 years later.

Wolf is buried in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna along with

other notable composers, such as Beethoven.

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