Paul Hindemith

(1895 - 1963)

Hindemith Video Links

Hindemith Conducting Hindemith

Here is some excellent film footage of Hindemith conducting his Concert Music for Strings and Brass, op. 50, with the Chicago Symphony. As you watch, always keep in mind that this was a conductor who not only knew every instrument in the orchestra, but one who could also play most of them!

Mathis der Maler

As was mentioned in the Commentary and Notes, Hindemith’s most ambitious work was his opera Mathis der Maler, based on the life of the German Rennaisance painter Matthias Grünewald.  Here is a wonderful collage showing some of the painter’s works, set to the music of the second movement from Hindemith’s symphony Mathis der Maler. The second movement is titled Entombment and is a wonderfully evocative piece of tone painting.

Sonata for Bass and Piano

Hindemith was very much interested in writing for those instruments that do not have large solo repertoires, including many unusual instruments such as heckelphone, viola d’amore, and other infrequent visitors to the orchestra.  He composed sonatas for virtually every instrument. Here is a sonata for double bass and piano, expertly played by the Italian bassist Daniele Roccato.


Here is a very unusual combination of instruments: two saxophones! Hindemith’s Konzertstück for two alto saxes shows his interest in composing for those instruments in need of repertoire.  This is in line with his philosophy of “music for everyone” or gebrauchmusik.

Audio Selections

Major Works by Hindemith


Sancta Susanna  (1921)

Cardillac   (1926)

Hin und Zurück  (1927)

Neues vom Tage  (1929)

Mathis der Maler  (1935)

Die Harmonie der Welt  (1957)


Nobilissima Visione  (1938)

The Four Temperaments  (1940)


Concerto for Orchestra  (1925)

Five Pieces for String Orchestra (1927)

Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass (1930)

Mathis der Maler Symphony (1934)

Symphonic Dances (1937)

Nobilissima Visione Suite (1938)

Symphony in Eb  (1940)

Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes
by Carl Maria von Weber

Symphonia serena (1946)

Die Harmonie der Welt Symphony (1951)

Pittsburgh Symphony  (1958)


Hindemith composed concertos for the following instruments:

Cello                                Organ

Piano                               Harp(s)

Piano left-hand only        Trautonium

Violin                               Clarinet

Viola                                Horn

Viola d’amore                  Trumpet and Bassoon


Hindemith composed a vast number of sonatas and solo pieces for almost every instrument imaginable, including the above listed under Concertos, as well as

Flute                                Trumpet

Guitar                              English horn

Mechanical piano            Oboe

Double bass                    Trombone

Xylophone                       Tuba

Alto saxophone(s)           Alto horn

Symphonic Metamorphosis
of Themes by
Carl Maria Von Weber  (1943)


Paul Hindemith was among the most prodigiously gifted musicians of the 20th century. Besides being one of the greatest composers of the age, he was a conductor, writer, theorist, teacher, master performer on viola, cartoonist, and scholar.  His knowledge of music from all periods was encyclopedic.  He was so intimately familiar with the technique of Bach’s works, for example, that it served as the foundation for his own compositional style. 


Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) was the first important new composer to emerge in Germany in the postwar years after World War I.  He was endowed with extraordinary musical gifts (he learned to play almost every instrument) and was one of the finest violists of the century, as well as being a superb violinist. He was also one of the most influential teachers of the 20th century.  His textbooks on theory and harmony are still widely used throughout the world; I learned all of my theory from them, and I use them in both undergraduate and graduate level university teaching even today!

CYS Performance History

  1. Bullet May/Jun. 1994

  2. Bullet Nov. 2002

  3. Bullet Nov. 2008

  4. Bullet Nov. 2015