R.I.P 〓 Siegfried Kurz(92)German Conductor


German conductor Siegfried Kurz died on January 7 in Dresden at the age of 92. He was a leading figure in East German opera society, having served as general music director and chief conductor of the Dresden State Opera and Berlin State Opera. He was also active as a composer.

Kurz was born in Dresden in 1930. He studied composition, conducting, and trumpet at the Dresden Conservatory of Music(now the Carl Maria von Weber University of Music).

While still a student, he began his musical career in 1949 as a conductor in charge of dramatic music at the Dresden State Opera. From 1960, he joined the ranks of opera conductors, serving as General Music Director(GMD) from 1971 to 1975 and as Artistic Director from 1975 to 1983. Later, from 1983 to 1988, he served as chief conductor of the Berlin State Opera.

Despite his craftsmanship, his repertoire is extremely wide-ranging, and he has conducted many operas. He also had a keen interest in 20th century operas, and was involved in the production of works such as Schoenberg’s “Moses and Aron” and Udo Zimmermann’s “Levin’s Mill,” despite tensions with the East German authorities.

In addition to his conducting activities, from the 1950s to the 1970s he was also active in composition, leaving behind works in a wide range of genres, especially orchestral music, including a trumpet concerto. Since 1979, he has also taught at the composition department of his alma mater.

He has made numerous recordings. Among them, his recording of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, made in 1978 with the Dresden State Opera Orchestra(=Staatskapelle Dresden), is known as a masterpiece.

Photo: Sächsischen Staatstheaters

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