Preserving the Works of Joseph Schillinger
Joseph Schillinger Biography

Who was Joseph Schillinger

Joseph Schillinger

Joseph Schillinger was a man before his time. He was a musician, a scholar, and an innovator. His life was a mere 47 years but the body of work he completed was enough to fill three lifetimes. He developed the Schillinger System of Musical Composition.


Joseph Schillinger (born Kharkiv, Russia, 31 Aug. 1895, died New York, 23 March 1943) was a theorist, composer and teacher. He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and was also trained in mathematics. After working in Russia as a teacher and conductor he moved to New York in 1928. There he taught in universities and took on private students. Schillinger developed a system of composition that reduced musical elements to mathematical relationships and the laws of Dynamic Symmetry. Among the many Schillinger students were Tommy Dorsey, George Gershwin, Glenn Miller, Rosa Rio, Jesse Crawford, Lyn Murray, Franklyn Marks, Leith Stevens, Benny Goodman, Nathan Van Cleave, Rudolf Schramm, Oscar Levant and Carmine Coppola.

Electronic Music Pioneer

Schillinger was also associated with Henry Cowell, Nicholas Slonimsky, and Leon Theremin and the use of the “Rhythmicon”, an electronic rhythm machine invented by Theremin and Cowell. Schillinger’s own works incorporated the use of the theremin within traditional orchestrations. Schillinger also composed the first piece for the Theremin, the First Airphonic Suite, which was performed by Leon Theremin with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Schillinger Society 2005

Schillinger Society’s Mission.

Our research traced  Schillinger’s musical career to his beginnings in Russia. Our exploration led us down paths of lawsuits, family fights, and in the end questions of espionage with the former KGB. A world that had open to us that was not only interesting but compelling and in the middle of the research, we found The Schillinger System of Music Composition.

The Practical Schillinger 2008

We teach the Schillinger System at the Practical Schillinger School of Music since 2008. We have opened up infinite possibilities for composers and musicians. Check out the Practical Schillinger and take our free class the Power of Permutations.

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