Sport / Tennis

WQXR’s top 5 athletic composers

Arnold Schoenberg with some children on a tennis court

A sporting musician for every day of the working week, including Benjamin Britten (cricket, swimming, soccer), Leonard Bernstein (tennis and squash, amongst other sports), and Arnold Schoenberg and George Gershwin:

George Gershwin and Arnold Schoenberg seem like an unlikely pair, but once a week, the two composers met on the tennis court at the former’s Beverly Hills home. According to one observer, Gershwin was “nonchalant” and “chivalrous,” always “playing to an audience.” Schoenberg, on the other hand, was “overly eager” and “choppy” and had “learned to shut his mind against public opinion.” We’re talking strictly about tennis, of course. 

Apparently, Debussy played tennis with Ravel too.

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