Paul Hindemith studied violin at the Dr Hoch's Konservatorium of Frankfurt and played from 1915 to 1923 in the Frankfurt opera. From 1921 to 1929 he played viola in the Amar Quarter, where he was advocate for contemporary music. Throughout the years, he held multiple positions as teachers, but he remained most popular as a violist. During the Second Worldwar he fleed to the USA and was given the American nationality in 1948, Later, he returned to Europe to teach at the university of Zürich.
His use rhythm, called "Motorik" by himself (a combination of Motor and Musik) is piercing, and at times even tormenting. It echoes the arrival of industralisation and the motor, as Hindemith opposes any form of sentimentality, psychology or personality. This way, Hinemith created shrill, neoclassicistic music (Gebrauchsmusik, music with a social or political aim). His body of works is quite extensive, with more than 100 compositions in all kinds of genres. Even though he was an advocate of contemporary music, he never felt affiliated with dodecaphony. He wrote several theoretic treatises, among which his Unterweisung im Tonsatz from 1937 in which Hindemith offers several systems in which the tension between intervals, harmony and melody is analysed and elevated into a compositional technique.
Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer from the first half of 20th Century. After his studies in Bologna (violin, viola and composition) he moved to St. Petersburg where played for several years for the Imperial Opera. There he also met Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who became his mentor in composition and orchestration. From 1903 until 1908 he played viola in the Mugellini quintet in Bologna. In 1908, he stayed in Berlin for a short period to study under Max Bruch. In 1913, he became a teacher himself at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, of which he became its director in 1924. Two years later, he already left the position to be able to dedicate himself completely to composing. While Respighi did compose nine operas, he is mostly known for his instrumental works. In particular his orchestral triptych of symphonic poems, Fontane di Roma, Pini di Roma and Feste Romane (also known as the Roman Trilogy) became quite famous. His style was a continuation of the French impressionism, and of Rimsky-Korsakov's technique. He also applied early composition techniques by applying melodies from early lute music (Antiche arie e danze per liuto) or harpsichordpieces from the Baroque era (Gli uccelli).