Frankfurt, still culturally marked by the conservative bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 20th century, developed into a modern metropolis after the First World War. Ernst May, director of urban development in Frankfurt from 1925 until 1930, constructed his famous model housing developments here; Max Beckmann was a pedagogue at the Städelsche Art Institute; Paul Hindemith lived in Frankfurt as did a number of expressionist poets including Fritz von Unruh. The Institute for Social Research had its headquarters here and the Frankfurter Zeitung attained international significance.
Under Ludwig Landmann, Lord Mayor from 1924 until 1933, Frankfurt developed into a cultural and economical opposite pole to Berlin. The city's theatre and opera attracted great attention as centres for world premiere. At the Frankfurt Opera under the direction of Ludwig Rottenberg, Gertrud Hindemith's father, numerous works by Bartók, Krenek, Schreker and Hindemith, amongst others, received their premieres.
Hermann Scherchen, director of the Frankfurt Museum Society, initiated the chamber music festival New Music of 1923 (world premiere of Hindemith's «Das Marienleben»), a festival to mark Schönberg's 50th birthday with a performance of the "Gurrelieder" at which Hindemith, Rottenberg, Sekles and the Lord Mayor sang in the choir, as well as the 54th Musicians' Festival of the General German Music Society in the summer of 1924 (world premiere of fragments from the opera «Wozzeck» by Alban Berg) and the Stravinsky Festival in the autumn of 1925.