Arnold Schoenberg was predominately self-taught
and didn't begin violin lessons until the age of eight. He began
writing music as soon as he began playing, even without formal training
in composition. Brahms and Wagner heavily influenced his early works,
which appeared around 1900.
Schoenberg began teaching violin and became a very
prominent instructor working with students Alban Berg and Anton
Webern. Schoenberg, along with his students, began composing music
that explored the historically accepted boundaries of tonality.
Schoenberg's approach became know as the atonal style.
Delving even further into his new method, he developed
a twelve-tone chromatic scale upon which to base his compositions.
As a Jew in Berlin during the Nazi rise to power, Schoenberg was
forced to flee to France and then eventually to the United States
in the 1930s. Once he settled in California, Schoenberg spent his
time composing and teaching at the University of Southern California