Georg Katzer

From Unearthing The Music

Georg Katzer (Born January 10th, 1935 in Habelschwerdt, Silesia ; Died May 7th, 2019 in Zeuthen in Berlin) was a German composer. He was one of the pioneers of electronic new music in the GDR.


Katzer was born in 1935 as the son of a pastry chef in Lower Silesia. He obtained his high school diploma at the "Schloss Wendgräben" boarding school and between 1953 and 1959 he studied piano, music theory and composition with Rudolf Wagner-Régeny and Ruth Zechlin at the Ost-Berliner Hochschule für Musik. From 1957 to 1958 he studied with Karel Janáček at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and from 1961 to 1963 he was a master student of Hanns Eisler, Ruth Zechlin and Leo Spies at the German Academy of Arts in Berlin.

In 1963 he became a freelance composer and musician in Berlin. From 1966 to 1967 he was music dramaturge on the Erich-Weinert-Ensemble of the NVA of the GDR. He collaborated with artists such as Johannes "Hannes" Bauer, Wolfgang Fuchs, Paul Lytton, Phil Minton, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, Radu Malfatti, Phil Wachsmann and the Bläservereinigung Berlin .

In 1976 he was a resident at the studio for electronic music in Bratislava and in 1977 in Bourges, France. In 1978 he was elected a member of the Academy of Arts in East Berlin. In 1982 he founded the Music Academy of the Arts studio for electroacoustic music, where he was artistic director until 2005.

In 1986 he was a visiting professor at Michigan State University. In 1987 he was appointed professor and subsequently taught a master class in composition at the Academy of Arts. He was a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin-Brandenburg, the Free Academy of the Arts in Leipzig and the Academy of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France.

Until 1989 he was Vice President of the Association of Composers and Musicologists of the GDR. From 1988 to 1991 he was President of the German section of the CIME (International Association for Electroacoustic Music), in 1990 President of the Music Council of the GDR and from 1990 to 2001 member of the board of the German Music Council.

Katzer's compositions include works for chamber ensembles, orchestral works, solo concerts, operas, ballets, puppet shows and oratory works. His work also includes electroacoustic pieces, radio drama music, multimedia projects and projects with improvised music. Other compositions have been published by Editions Gravis.

Katzer lived in Zeuthen near Berlin until his death in May 2019 at the age of 84 years.

Works (selection)

  • Building Kit for Orchestra , 1972.
  • The Hedgehog stairs for speakers and 13 instruments. Text: Sarah Kirsch , 1973.
  • The land Bum-Bum . Opera, 1973.
  • D major music machine . Orchestra work, 1973.
  • Black birds . Ballet, 1975.
  • Scene for chamber ensemble . Instrumental Theater, 1975.
  • A new summer night dream . Ballet, 1979.
  • Banquet or about love . Opera, libretto: Gerhard Müller , 1987.
  • Antigone or the city . Opera, libretto: Gerhard Müller, 1989.
  • My 1989 . Radio Composition, 1990.
  • L'homme machine . multimedia scenic action, 2000.
  • Medea in Corinth . Oratorio Scenes, libretto: Christa Wolf (after Medea: voices ). First performance September 6, 2002 , Konzerthaus Berlin .
  • String Quartets: No. 1 (1965), No. 3 (1987) and No. 4 tempi fragili (2004) - First recorded in 2010 by the Sonar Quartet Berlin.

Radio plays

  • 1963: Anna Elisabeth Wiede : The Beast of Samarkand - Director: Flora Hoffmann (children's radio play - broadcasting of the GDR )
  • 1971: Hans-Joerg Dost : Passio Camilo - Director: Barbara Plensat / Detlef Kurzweg (radio play - broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1972: William Shakespeare : Pericles - Director: Uwe Haacke (radio play - broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1972: Heinrich von Kleist : Amphitryon - Director: Werner Grunow (radio play - broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1973: Francoise Xenakis : On the island she wanted to tell him ... - Director: Fritz Göhler (radio play - broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1973: Lia Pirskawetz : Spider-Palaver - Director: Barbara Plensat (Radio Play - Broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1975: Jean Pélégri : The outcry - Director: Fritz Göhler (radio play - broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1982: Valentin Rasputin : Matjora - Director: Fritz Göhler (radio play - broadcasting of the GDR)
  • 1990: Arthur Rimbaud : I'm different

Commissioned works

Katzer composed the following commissions by Bläservereinigung Berlin:

  • Concerto for Harpsichord u. Wind quintet, "Come and go"
  • "La Mettrie or Notes to Machine People"
  • "La Mettrie or Note to Plant People"
  • "Il re pastore" after texts Frederick II .
  • Film Music
  • 1962: Josef and all his brothers (TV movie)
  • 1963: In love and criminal record
  • 1964: Lütt mats and the white shell
  • 1965: Angel in purgatory
  • 1965: Berlin around the corner
  • 1965: Karla
  • 1967: Stories of That Night (Episode 1)
  • 1968: life for two
  • 1982: Stella (TV movie)
  • 1985: half of life
  • 1988: Melanio's last love
  • 1989: The man at the ramp

Awards / Prizes

  • 1964/65 Mendelssohn scholarship
  • 1975 1st prize of a drama competition of the children's and youth theater
  • 1976 Art Prize of the GDR
  • 1977 Prize in the Competition for Electroacoustic Music of the Groupe de Musique expérimentale de Bourges , France
  • 1978 Reine Marie José Prize, Geneva
  • 1981 National Prize of the GDR for Art and Literature III. Class (for complete composition)
  • 1985 Prize in the Competition for Electroacoustic Music of the Groupe de Musique expérimentale de Bourges, France
  • 1987 Art Prize of the FDGB for Music [3]
  • 1992 guest of honor of the German Academy Rome Villa Massimo
  • 1992 Culture Prize Silesia of the state of Lower Saxony
  • 1998 Johann Wenzel Stamitz Prize
  • 1999 Music Award of the State of Brandenburg
  • 2003 Federal Cross of Merit 1st class
  • 2011 Prize of the German Record Critics (Best List 1/2011) [4]
  • 2012 German music author award for composition experimental music / music with live electronics
  • 2015 Honorary member of the Leibniz Society of Sciences in Berlin.

Written works

  • Gerd Belkius: Georg Katzer . In: Dietrich Brennecke, Hannelore Gerlach, Mathias Hansen (ed.): Musicians in our time. Members of the section Music of the Academy of Arts of the GDR . German publishing house for music, Leipzig 1979, S. 300 ff.
  • Katzer, Prof. Georg. In: Wilfried W. Bruchhäuser: Composers of the Present in the German Composers' Association. A manual. 4th edition, German Composers' Association, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-555-61410-X , p. 621.
  • Georg Katzer. In: Sigrid Neef (with Hermann Neef ): German opera in the 20th century. GDR 1949-1989. Lang, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-86032-011-4 , p. 247 ff.
  • Christiane Niklew: Katzer, George . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1, Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Jutta Raab: Georg Katzer . In: Composers of the Present (KDG). Edition Text & Critique, Munich 1996, ISBN 978-3-86916-164-8 .
  • Katzer, Georg. In: Brockhaus-Riemann Music Dictionary. CD-ROM, Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89853-438-3 , S. 13021 f.
  • Antje Hinz: The problem of acoustic art using the example of Georg Katzer's radio plays . MA thesis Musicology (unpublished), Hamburg 1995.

Related Content

Speech Sound Experiments, Sound Machines, Electroacoustic Music, Multimedia – Face to Face with the State