Reinhold Brinkmann, a distinguished scholar whose writings on music of the 19th and 20th centuries made an indelible mark on musicology in Germany and the United States, died on Oct. 10, after a long illness, in Eckernförde, Germany. He was 76.
Brinkmann taught in Harvard’s Department of Music from 1985 until his retirement in 2003, serving as James Edward Ditson Professor of Music and department chair. He came to Harvard from Berlin, where he had been a professor at the Hochschule der Künste since 1980, and prior to that was professor of musicology at the University of Marburg. In 2001, he was the first musicologist to be awarded the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize.
His writings span a broad range of topics, including the Second Viennese School (especially Schoenberg), the Romantic Lied tradition, Wagner, Skryabin, Varèse, Eisler, and Ives. Brinkmann also lived and breathed new music, and enjoyed close friendships with Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, and Luciano Berio, who dedicated his Sonata per Pianforte Solo to him in 2001. Brinkmann’s work combined intimate knowledge of the music, often shown in detailed, painstaking analyses, with an awareness of social and political backgrounds and ramifications. He published and edited many books and essays.
He leaves behind his wife, Dorothea Brinkmann. The Department of Music will host a memorial for Brinkmann in the spring.