The important Austrian composer and pedagogue; Franz Schmidt, began his musical training with the Pressburg Cathedral organist, Maher. In 1888 his family settled in Vienna, where he had piano lessons from Leschetizky and also studied composition with Bruckner, theory with Fuchs, and cello with HelImesberger at the Conservatory (from 1890).
Franz Schmidt was a cellist in the orch. of the Vienna Court Opera (1896-1911). He also taught cello at the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (1901-1908) and was professor of piano (1914-1922) and of counterpoint and composition (from 1922) at the Vienna Staatsakademie. He also served as director (1925-1927). Subsequently he was director of the Vienna Hochschule für Musik (1927-1931). In 1934 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna. After his retirement in 1937, Schmidt received the Beethoven Prize of the Prussian Academy in Berlin. His 2nd wife, Margarethe Schmidt, founded the Franz Schmidt-Gemeinde in 1951.
Franz Schmidt's music is steeped in Viennese Romanticism; the works of Bruckner and Max Reger were particularly influential in his development, but he found an original voice in his harmonic writing. Although he is regarded in Austria as a very important symphonic composer, his music is almost totally unknown elsewhere. Outside his homeland, he remains best known for his orchestral suite, Zwischenspiel aus einer unvollständigen romantischen oper (Vienna, December 6, 1903), taken from his opera Notre Dame (1902-1904; Vienna, April 1, 1914). Among his other significant works are 4 symphonies.: No. 1 (1896-1899); Vienna, January 25, 1902), No. 2 (1911-1913; Vienna, December 3, 1913), No. 3 (Vienna, December 2, 1928), and No. 4 (1932-1933; Vienna, January 10, 1934); a Piano Concerto for Piano, Left-hand and orchestra., for Paul Wittgenstein (1923; Vienna, February 2, 1924); and the oratorio Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln (1935-1937; Vienna, June 15, 1938). He also composed 2 string quartets (1925, 1929) and other chamber works, 2 piano sonatas, and much organ music.