He studied composition with Franz Schreker at the Academy of Performing Arts and Music in Vienna and later at the Academy of Music in Berlin. At the same time, he studied history at the University of Vienna, obtaining his doctorate in 1922.
In 1919 he made his debut in Vienna as a pianist, playing his own Variations on a Theme of Reger, Op. 1 (1919). In 1921-32 he taught composition and music theory at the Berlin University of the Arts. In 1932-34 he taught composition in Paris, and in 1934-38 in London. In 1938 he moved to the United States, where he stayed till the end of his life. From 1940 to 1954 he was a lecturer at Queens College in New York.
He was an active member of American music organisations (including International Society for Contemporary Music, American League of Composers from Austria, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and Polish community organizations (including the Music Committee of the Institute of Culture). He was an honorary vice-president of the Jewish Music World Center.
Karol Rathaus? music for the 1930 film The Murderer Dimitri Karamazov (dir. Erich Engels, Fedor Ozep) brought him popularity and recognition and started his career as a composer of this genre of music. While still a student, he signed a ten-year contract with Universal Edition for the continuous publication of all his 1920 songs, which certainly contributed to his great success in Europe in the 1920s.
Source: Polish Music Information Centre, Polish Composers’ Union, 2020
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Ballade. Variations on a Hurdy-Gurdy Theme, Op. 40, 1936 Download Five Pieces for Piano [Fünf Klavierstücke], Op. 9, 1920 Borrow Four Studies after Domenico Scarlatti Op. 56, 1945-46 Buy Kujawiak, Op. 47 No. 2 The Kujawiak was published as part of the anthology "Homage a Paderewski" Download Landscape in Six Colours, 1942 Borrow Oberek, Op. 47 No. 1 Borrow Six Little Pieces for Piano [Sechs kleine Klavierstücke], Op. 11, 1926 No. 1 Vorspiel auf dem Theater, No. 2 Ganz allein im Walde, No. 3 Trauermarsch auf den Tod eines Riesen, No. 4 Eine kleine Serenade, No. 5 Der Schlangenbeschwörer, No. 6 Schweine Borrow Sonata No. 1, Op. 2, 1920 Buy Sonata No. 2, Op. 8, 1928 Borrow Sonata No. 3, Op. 20, 1927 Buy Sonata No. 4, Op. 58, 1946 Three Mazurkas, Op. 24, 1928 Borrow Two Little Pieces for Piano [Zwei kleine Klavierstücke], 1921(?) Download Two movements from the ballet "The Last Pierrot" arranged for piano by the composer himself, 1927 No. 1 Valse sentimentale, No. 2 Tanz der Arbeiter Borrow Variations on a Theme by Georg Böhm, 1948 Borrow Variations on a Theme by Max Reger Op. 1, 1919