Memories of Mimi Scheiblauer and the development of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a therapeutic practice: An interview with Eleonore Witoszynskyj — John Habron & Eleonore Witoszynskyj

Special Issue 8 (2) 2016 “Dalcroze Eurhythmics in music therapy and special music education” – Interview (published on 11 December 2016)

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Memories of Mimi Scheiblauer and the development of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a therapeutic practice: An interview with Eleonore Witoszynskyj

John Habron & Eleonore Witoszynskyj   


In this interview, Witoszynskyj remembers her first encounter with Rhythmics during the period immediately after the Second World War. In the early 1960s, she had the opportunity to shadow Mimi Scheiblauer, who had been a pupil of Jaques-Dalcroze and was a pioneer in the development of music therapy. Witoszynskyj recalls in detail Scheiblauer’s approach to teaching, describing the strategies and exercises she devised, and speaks of the deep impression this experience made on her. The interview also contains reflections on her teachers Brigitte Müller and Rosalia Chladek, who would later become her colleagues. Witoszynskyj shares her theoretical perspectives on music and movement, developed during work with children with various disabilities and adults with cancer, and through a commitment to continual study. This interview will be relevant to researchers in Dalcroze Studies, historians of rhythmic education and music therapy, and anyone interested in the practice and theory of music and movement that developed from the work of Jaques-Dalcroze, especially in German-speaking Switzerland and Austria.


Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Rhythmics, music, Mimi Scheiblauer, Brigitte Müller, Rosalia Chladek, Cary Rick


John Habron (PhD) is Head of Music Education at the Royal Northern College of Music, UK, Senior Research Fellow in the MASARA (Musical Arts in Southern Africa: Resources and Applications) research group at North-West University, South Africa, and a music therapist. Having trained initially as a composer, he has gradually shifted into transdisciplinary research across the areas of music education and music therapy, publishing in the International Journal of Music Education, Journal of Research in Music Education, Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, TD: The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa and British Journal of Occupational Therapy amongst others. John convenes the International Conference of Dalcroze Studies (Coventry 2013, Vienna 2015, Quebec City 2017) and chairs its Scientific Committee.

Born in Vienna in 1941, Eleonore Witoszynskyj (MPhil) took Rhythmic Studies at the Conservatory of Zurich and the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, or mdw). Besides studying piano and recorder, she undertook additional studies in instrumental teaching, psychology and therapy education, as well as dance therapy and analysis of movement for people with physical and mental disabilities. Witoszynskyj has extensive teaching experience at the Institute of Music and Movement Education & Music Therapy at mdw, where she began work in 1968 and is currently university professor in the theory of music and movement. Her publications include Erziehung durch Musik & Bewegung (3rd Edition, 2011), Lebendiges Lernen durch Musik, Bewegung, Sprache (2009) and numerous articles.