Travels to the USA
Since Hindemith was prohibited from performing in Germany, he had to look around for other possibilities for activity abroad. In the summer of 1936 he received an invitation to play his own works at the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Festival in Washington. With the help of his American representatives, Associated Music Publishers in New York, Schott Publishers organised subsequent concert dates.
In late March 1937 Hindemith set off, for the first time, on the approximately nine-day journey by ship to America. He gave a total of ten concerts during the six-week tour that took him to Washington, Boston, Chicago, Buffalo and New York. In Chicago on 21 April he played the premiere of a Sonata for solo viola composed immediately beforehand. A second concert tour led him to New England for the first time from February until April 1938, the region that was later to become his home.
Hindemith's concerts won him great recognition in America. He recorded, amongst other works of his own, the viola concerto Der Schwanendreher. Alongside professional duties, Hindemith also enjoyed his American trip as a tourist. He went to the New York Metropolitan Museum and Niagara Falls, also visiting his uncle and the latter's family living near New York.
Hindemith undertook his longest USA trip from late January until early May 1939. This time he also travelled to the western part of the United States and visited the film studios in Hollywood. His secret hope of finding a new sphere of activity in the area of film music was shattered when faced with the disillusioning impressions gathered from the film industry: «I think I am quite cured of the idea of doing something here in the area of film (based on the completely crazy idea of creating something of artistic value). One cannot do anything of that kind in earnest,» he confessed in a letter to his wife who had remained in Berlin. Always with a view of his own future perspectives, he also attentively observed the sometimes lamentable fate of emigrated artists in the United States.