9th February 1885
24th December 1935
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique. He is remembered as one of the most important composers of the 20th century and to date is the most widely performed opera composer among the Second Viennese School. Considered to have brought more human values to the twelve-tone system, his works is seen as more emotional than Schoenberg's. Critically he is seen to have preserved the Viennese tradition in his music. His popularity has been more easily secured than many other Modernists since he plausibly combined both Romantic and Expressionist idioms. Though Berg's Romanticism at one time seemed a drawback for some modernist composers, the Berg scholar Douglas Jarman writes in the New Grove: "As the 20th century closed, the 'backward-looking' Berg suddenly came as [George] Perle remarked, to look like its most forward-looking composer."