Influence in America
As a successful composer and much sought-after composition teacher, as a stimulating music theoretician and initiator of historical-authentic performance practice, Hindemith exerted an influence in the United States that can hardly be overestimated. He was performed more frequently in the States than any other living composer and received more commissions than any other. Without exception, his music was favourably received by the press. Through his strict and comprehensive teaching, his students were able to stand the test in general musical life as instrumentalists, theory teachers, conductors and musicologists if the hoped-for compositional talent proved insufficient (amongst his American pupils, Hindemith acknowledged only Lukas Foss as compositionally talented).
Hindemith's influence was directly reflected in numerous honours. Already in 1940 he received the highest honour awarded by Yale University, the Howland Memorial Prize Medal. In 1940 he also became a foreign honorary member of the exclusive Institute of Arts and Letters, and a regular member in 1947 after becoming a naturalised citizen. The Philadelphia Academy of Music awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1945 and Columbia University followed suit in 1948; Columbia President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a banquet in Hindemith's honour. He received a letter in 1961 from President John F. Kennedy.
In 1945 the Juilliard School of Music organised a festival lasting several days in honour of Hindemith's 50th birthday and in 1949 he received the very distinguished appointment to the Charles Eliot Norton Chair of Poetry at Harvard University, which he used for the elaboration of his musical poetics in «A Composer's World.» In 1952 he received the New York Music Critics' Circle Award for the best chamber work of the season.
Hindemith was perhaps the only emigrant composer from Europe who not only achieved great success and far-reaching influence in the United States, but was also able to consolidate and increase his position and reputation as a composer without making any musical adaptations or fundamental reorientations. It was only in the States that Hindemith achieved world renown as a composer.