In 1935 he emigrated to the United States, where he began writing sophisticated musicals, the most notable being Johnny Johnson (1936), Knickerbocker Holiday (1938; written with Maxwell Anderson), Lady in the Dark (1941), and One Touch of Venus (1943; written with Ogden Nash). In these works Weill employed with great facility advanced techniques, including multiple rhythms and polytonality, combined with the idiom of American popular music and jazz. His last works, in a more serious vein, included Street Scene (1947), Down in the Valley (1948), and Lost in the Stars (1949; written with Maxwell Anderson). His wife, the singer Lotte Lenya, played many of the leading roles in his works and was his defining interpreter. Weill also wrote some instrumental works; a cantata, Lindbergh's Flight (1929); and The Eternal Road (1934), a pageant of Jewish history originally composed in German with text by Franz Werfel. Weill became a U.S. citizen in 1943.
See the letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, ed. by L. Symonette (1997); biography by R. Sanders (1980); E. Mordden, Love Song: The Lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya (2012); P. Katz, The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink (2015).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies