Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) was the most important German composer in the inter-war years. He studied violin in Frankfurt, and after his father´s death in 1915 joined the orchestra of the Frankfurt Opera. He also supplemented the family income with private teaching and by playing in taverns and cinemas. He kept this practical approach to music all his life, performing on violin or viola as soloist or in various chamber ensembles. He organised music festivals, taught in Germany, USA and Turkey and later began a new career as conductor. Hindemith´s music draws on a wide variety of historical and contemporary styles. He developed his own completely unique system for understanding and composing music, based on the ranking of intervals of the 12-tone scale according to how dissonant they are. The most direct application of this theory is the large piano work Ludus Tonalis, containing 12 fugues with interludes - Hindemith´s response to Bach´s Das Wohltemperierte Clavier. He also wrote three piano sonatas, several other piano pieces for two or four hands, and sonatas with piano for almost every instrument of the orchestra.
Hindemith about himself:
"As a violinist, violist, pianist and percussionist I have thoroughly cultivated the following musical fields: chamber music of all kinds, cinema music, coffee house music, dance music, operetta, jazz band, and military music."