Anton Webern (German: [ˈantɔn ˈveːbɐn]; 3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern comprised the core among those within and more peripheral to the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. As an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, and even Schoenberg himself. As tutor Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian (Friederich Deutsch), Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, and Stefan Wolpe.
Webern's music was among the most radical of its milieu, both in its concision and in its rigorous and resolute apprehension of twelve-tone technique. His innovations in schematic organization of pitch, rhythm, register, timbre, dynamics, articulation, and melodic contour; his eagerness to redefine imitative contrapuntal techniques such as canon and fugue; and his inclination toward athematicism, abstraction, and lyricism all greatly informed and oriented post-war European, typically serial or avant-garde composers such as Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono, Bruno Maderna, Henri Pousseur, and György Ligeti. In the United States, meanwhile, it was very fruitfully reintroduced to Igor Stravinsky by Robert Craft; and it attracted the interest of Milton Babbitt, although he ultimately found Schoenberg's twelve-tone techniques more useful than those of Webern, and Elliott Carter, whose critical ambivalence was marked by a certain enthusiasm nonetheless.
During and shortly after the post-war period, then, Webern was posthumously received with attention first diverted from his sociocultural upbringing and surroundings and, moreover, focused in a direction apparently antithetical to his participation in German Romanticism and Expressionism. A richer understanding of Webern began to emerge in the later half of the 20th century, notably in the work of scholars Kathryn Bailey, Julian Johnson, and Anne Schreffler, as archivists and biographers (e.g., Hans and Rosaleen Moldenhauer) regained access to sketches, letters, lectures, audio recordings, and other articles of and associated with Webern's estate.