Dr. Andres Briner
Member of the Foundation Council 1968-2003
President of the Foundation Council 1986-1998
Honorary member of the Foundation Council 2003-2014
On the Death of Dr. Andres Briner
The Hindemith Foundation mourns the loss of its longstanding president, Dr. Andres Briner. The Foundation, which administrates and organises the legacy of Paul Hindemith in accordance with the testamentary disposition of the composer's widow, was founded in 1968. In the same year, Andres Briner was appointed to the Foundation Council. With his monographs, essays and reviews, he made wide-ranging, more or less polyphonic contributions to this complex, provocative and, accordingly, controversial composer-personality. His thought on music and, in particular, his reflections on Hindemith were notable for their simultaneity of proximity and distance to the observed subject, as is indispensable for a scholar and, especially, for a music critic as well.
Andres Briner had a personal, direct relationship to Paul Hindemith. He studied musicology with him in Zurich in 1951 and 1952, and those of us who were younger thoroughly envied him this "blessing of an early birth".
With all his later commitment to his teacher Hindemith, Andres Briner was open to the variety of musical worlds and individualities in the 20th century. In his numerous scholarly contributions, as in the critiques of the NZZ, one senses his strong will to unconditionally come to terms with what is foreign and remote, albeit critically. Thus the anthology of important texts by him, published on the occasion of his 70th birthday, rightly bears the title "Musical Coexistence".
This book title, chosen by him, says a great deal about his attitude towards a musical development during the past hundred years that is strongly differentiated within itself and has also become confusingly complex. The formulation "musical coexistence" reflects the endeavour to integrate what is different and to create an overall view of contradictory and diverse tendencies. The musical-aesthetical judgement of Andres Briner was considerate, level-headed and carefully weighed, not out of trepidation but because his knowledge was so great.
This ability to unite, to bring together, gave his work on the Foundation staff a firm foundation on which differing opinions and temperaments could be placed.
Having reached the age of 80, Andres Briner informed the Foundation Council of his decision to leave the Council from that time onward. He did this in his own reserved way, also so as to not burden us, his colleagues and friends. At that time, he wrote: "Eleonore and I consider it a blessing that we are able to remain active until my 80th birthday. But for millennia, people have grasped the threshold that must then be crossed. This is the end of my affiliation with the Foundation Council, but it is not the end of our friendship".
Andres Briner has now crossed the final threshold in human life, and the Hindemith Foundation mourns the loss of a committed, loveable friend. But if it is written in the Talmud that man dies twice - that he first suffers death and then becomes forgotten - it is absolutely certain that we all shall not forget Andres Briner.
Andreas Eckhardt, President of the Fondation Hindemith, June 2014