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Genzmer, Harald

Harald Genzmer (1909-2007)

Harald Genzmer was born on February 9, 1909 in Bremen, Germany, and died on December 16, 2007 in Munich, Germany. His artistic career was profoundly influenced by Paul Hindemith, withwhom he studied composition in Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In 1946 Genzmer himself began working as a composition teacher, at the newly established Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg im Breisgau. Eleven years later, in 1957, he was invited to take up the post of Professor of Composition at the Musikhochschule in Munich, in which city he would remain for the rest of his life.

Genzmer was always a passionate teacher, drawing on his unusual and varied output, a deep knowledge of music history, great creativity, and craftsmanship in composition. Many composers such as Debussy, Hindemith, Bartók, and Stravinsky have influenced Genzmer but he nevertheless had a very individual compositional style. He developed a very personal musical language, using it in a surprising variety of genres: his work comprises orchestral and choral music and a great number of chamber works. One of the genres most important to Genzmer was the concerto: he wrote 16 concertos and 2 concertinos.

Genzmer was one of the most important German composers of the 20th century. He was always skeptical of the dogmatism of the avant garde movement - something he had in common with his great teacher Paul Hindemith. He stood for music which speaks directly to the musician and to the listener.

Music should be vigorous, artistic and intelligible. By being idiomatic, the music should win the performer; by being accessible, it should win the listener.

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