Courses as an Instructor
In February 1940, just a few months after the Second World War broke out, Hindemith emigrated, hesitatingly and only at the urgent request of American friends, having secured lectureships at the University of Buffalo, Cornell University in Ithaca and Wells College in Aurora. In addition, Serge Koussevitzky engaged him as a composition teacher for the summer academy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Tanglewood.
Hindemith first stayed at the Lenox Hotel in Buffalo – «the hotel is a storage place for old ladies; it is situated in the middle of my workplaces and across from it there are even trees with sparrows flying around somewhat crazily,» he reported – and soon began to suffer under the conditions in which he had to live and work: from the separation from his wife, who had remained in Bluche and was to follow him in the spring after he completed his first teaching obligations, from the city of Buffalo, which he described as a «travesty of a city», «made out of kilometre-long Siberian wooden houses lacking any charm, [...] not exactly encouraging, especially in slush, ice and snow - and the snow is black besides,» from the lack of ability and knowledge of the students, many of whom only signed up for his courses out of curiosity and, not least, from the workload of his teaching in three different cities. Nor could he reach an agreement with Leonide Massine over new ballet projects; he felt as if he «had never in his life thought about or written a single note.»
In early March 1940 he also received an invitation to give lectures and courses at the renowned Yale University in New Haven which he was pleased to accept, hoping to establish ties with this university. Hindemith in fact impressed the people at Yale so much that he was immediately invited to serve as Guest Professor for the winter semester of 1940/41. «Our immediate future appears assured,» Hindemith wrote to his wife on 7 April 1940, asking her to make travel plans.