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Zeisl had his first song published at age 16. He won the Austrian State prize for composition in 1934. His European career was cut short by the Nazis. He fled Vienna on the day after Kristallnacht and stayed in France, where he became friends with Darius Milhaud. He came to the United States in 1939 and settled in Los Angeles in 1942 until his death in 1959. Zeisl composed over 100 Lieder while still in Vienna and wrote music for a number of films in america. His works include a piano concerto, cello concerto, several ballets, twenty-four solo or chamber works including four sonatas for solo instruments, two string quartets, and two trios, several large-scale orchestral works, an unfinished opera, a number of choral works and his masterpiece, the “Requiem Ebraico,” a setting of the 92nd Psalm dedicated to the memory of his father and the countless victims of the Holocaust. His biographer, Prof. Malcolm Cole, writes: “Eric Zeisl bequethed to posterity a legacy of lasting merit and intense individuality. His is a directly communicative testament of solidly crafted, expressive, beautiful music.”
There is a CD of his chamber music available on Harmonia Mundi.