Born in Miskolcz, Hungary, Marcel Dick came from a musical family. His great uncle was the noted Hungarian violinist Edward Remenyi. Mr. Dick received his earliest formal music training at the Royal Academy oin Budapest where he studied violin with Joseph Bloich and Rezso Kemeny, and theory and composition with Victor Herzfeld and Zoltan Kodaly. He was awarded his degree in violin in 1915 and became Professor of Music in 1917; further studies were interrupted by WWI. After serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army, he joined the Budapest Philharmonic as a violinist. He emigrated to Vienna in 1921 and became principal violist of the Vienna Symphony. At the suggestion of Arnold Shoenberg, Mr. Dick founded the famed Kolisch String Quartet in 1924. Shoenberg was to remain Mr. Dick's mentor, colleague and friend for many years.
In 1934, Marcel Dick came to the United States, working first in New York, then later as the principal violist in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He came to Cleveland in 1943 to become principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, a position he held until 1949 when he was appointed head of the Department of Graduate Theory and Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
As a composer, Marcel Dick produced a large body of music, much of it influenced by the twelve-tone system developed by Schoenberg. Several of his works were performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, including Symphony, conducted by Dmitri Mitropolos in 1950. Symphony for Two String Orchestras was performed by the Minneapolis Symphony in 1968.
As a teacher at The Institute, Kenyon College, and Case Western Reserve University, Marcel Dick developed a large and loyal following of students. In 1990, his students organized the writing and publication of a "Festschrift," or volume of essays in his honor. The volume, Studies in the Schoenbergian Movement in Vienna and the United States, was published in 1990 by Edwin Mellen Press and contains fifteen essays written by colleagues and former students, as well as some of Mr. Dick's own writings.
While at The Institute, Mr. Dick established the Contemporary Concert Series which presented the Cleveland premiere of many twentieth-century masterworks by Schoenberg, Webern, Bartok, and Stravinsky. During his lifetime, Mr. Dick received many awards and distinctions, including the Music Award of the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1962 and in 1978 received an Honorary Doctoral Degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music. The Marcel Dick Scholarship in Composition was established at The Cleveland Institute of Music in 1988.