"In this first full-length biography of Kurt Weill to incorporate his unpublished family letters and early compositions, as well as testimony from those who knew him, Ronald Taylor traces the turbulent path that led this intriguing composer from Berlin to Broadway." "Taylor considers the successive phases of Weill's life and work against the background of his Jewish roots and Germany's agitated, tragic interwar years. The son of a cantor and schoolteacher, Weill began his career as an avant-garde enfant terrible in Berlin in the 1920s. In 1928 his Threepenny Opera exploded upon the world, thrusting him into the limelight. Hitler's rise to power five years later forced Weill into exile, first in Paris, then in New York, where he began a new career and wrote such successful Broadway musicals as Lady in the Dark, Street Scene, and Lost in the Stars." "Taylor examines the emotional and intellectual forces that fueled Weill's unique contribution to twentieth-century music. With great skill and historical understanding, Taylor weaves the colorful thread of Weill's early career into the fascinating cultural and social tapestry that was Berlin in the 1920s, documenting the dramatic changes in his life. Included are accounts of his studies under Ferruccio Busoni; his relationships with men such as Otto Klemperer, Claudio Arrau, and his collaborator and polar opposite Bertolt Brecht, who provided the politico-dramatic framework for many of Weill's best-known compositions; and his life with actress and singer Lotte Lenya, whom he married, then divorced, then married again. This book gives new insights into the composer who created such a wall around himself that Lenya, at his death, commented, "I looked at him and asked myself, did I ever really know him?""--Jacket.