Heinrich Jalowetz

 “We must differentiate between ideologies and ideas.”

– Heinrich Jalowetz, BMC Newsletter, May 1941.[1]

An brief biography of Heinrich Jalowetz’s life drafted directly after his death in 1946, while still employed by BMC. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.Fig. 1

Heinrich Jalowetz was born December 8, 1882 in Briin, Czechoslovakia and was raised in Vienna, Austria. Prior to his work at Black Mountain College, he studied musical composition for many years under Arnold Schonberg and musicology with Guido Adler. He worked as an orchestral conductor in opera houses in Austria, Germany, and Czechoslovakia for thirty years. Despite his success, Jalowetz was forced to emigrate to the Americas in 1938 after a stark rise in fascism and Nazi sentiment in these Eastern European countries.[2] He was briefly employed as a professor at the Toronto Music Conservatory, but would quickly enter the U.S. and apply for employment at Black Mountain College. On May 20, 1939, Jalowetz was appointed as the music professor at Black Mountain College and moved there with his wife and one of his daughters, who enrolled as a student.[3]

A letter from Heinrich Jalowetz on his travels from Eastern Europe to the United States. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.Fig. 2

Over his teaching years, Jalowetz was the founder of the Black Mountain College Music Institute, and joined a number of the school’s committees. Jalowetz was an admired man, both by students and staff. Despite his many opinions on the conversations and debates that were occurring between staff members and committees, Jalowetz preferred to remain silent during meetings. Instead of provoking argument, he would later write out for those who wished to read and consider his opinion.[4] Here is An Account that Jalowetz had Written on a Staff Debate, Including his own Opinions on the Matter.[5]

A transcript of the sermon given at Heinrich Jalowetz’s funeral. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.Fig. 3

It was a tragic event when he died February 2, 1946 from a heart attack, just after the end of the Second World War. He left his wife, Johanna Groag Jalowetz, and two daughters, Trudi and Elisabeth Jalowetz. A memorial service occurred on the campus on February 4, 1946.[6]



[1]  Black Mountain College Newsletter, May 1941, Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[2] Heinrich Jalowetz, Biographical Survey, February, 1939, Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[3] “Heinrich Jalowetz,” Faculty’s Who’s Who. Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 1, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[4] Heinrich Jalowetz, Jalowetz on a Staff Debate, n.d., Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[5] Heinrich Jalowetz, Jalowetz on a Staff Debate, n.d., Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[6] “A transcript of the Sermon Given at Heinrich Jalowetz’s Funeral.” n.d., Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Fig. 1 “Rondthaler–Black Mountain College,” February 4, 1946. Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Fig. 2 Heinrich Jalowetz, letter to Theodore Dreier, March 13, 1919, Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Fig. 3 “A transcript of the Sermon Given at Heinrich Jalowetz’s Funeral.” n.d., Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

css.php