Werner Egk

Werner Egk

Born: May 17th, 1901
Died: July 10th, 1983
Country of origin: Germany


Furchtlosigkeit und Wohlwollen
Conductor: Jan Olberg
November 1st, 2015 | Philharmonie - Berlin - Germany

Peer Gynt
Conductor: Evan Christ
April 23rd, 2016 | Staatstheater - Cottbus - Germany



Born in Auchsesheim (Bavaria) on 17 May as third child of the teacher Joseph Mayer and his wife Marie, née Buck

Family moved to Augsburg
Admitted into the Augsburg Gymnasium of St. Stephan
First piano lessons with the daughter of a choir director
Attended the Städtisches Konservatorium für Musik
Passed final exams at St. Stephans and left his parents´home to move to Erbach (Odenwald)

Took singing lessons with Kammersänger Nieratzki

Private piano studies with Prof. Helberger, Frankfurt

Systematic studies of music history

End of the year: Worked as private tutor of the sons of Kammersänger Heinrich Knote in Pöcking at the Starnbergersee

Theory lessons with a student of the composer Friedrich Klose
Moved to Munich

Studied piano with Anna Hirzel-Langenhan

Studied theory, composition and conducting with Carl Orff

Worked at the theatre Schaubühne in the Steinicke-Saal in Schwabing as stage manager, scene painter and director of incidental music
Death of his mother; returned to Augsburg

Matriculated as student of philosophy at the University of Munich

Attended lectures on musicology with Adolf Sandberger

Met the violinist Elisabeth Karl
29 March: Married Elisabeth Karl and took the name Egk as stage name
27 May: Birth of son Titus
Spring: Severe illness (influenza)

Summer: Trip to Portofino (Italy) for convalenscene

September: Moved to Rapallo (Italy)
Beginning of the year: Moved to Cavi di Lavagna (Italy)
End of September: Returned to Munich

Worked as musical director of an orchestra at the cinema "Phöbus-Palast"
Moved to Berlin, looking for commissions, while his family stayed in Munich

July: Worked with the puppet theatre "Marionettentheater Münchner Künstler" in summer

Wrote music for the "Funkstunde" Berlin commissioned by the director Hans Flesch, later also for the Bavarian Radio, then "Deutsche Stunde in Bayern"

Berlin contacts with Kurt Weill, Erich Mühsam, Jürgen Fehling, Bert Brecht, Erwin Piscator among others

August: Returned to Munich-Obermenzing

Was awarded an honorary gift of the Münchner Volksbühne

Summer: Moved from Munich-Obermenzing to Lochham, Lindenstraße 1

Was commissioned by the Munich Radio to write an opera for the radio; discussed the "Columbus" plan in detail with Hermann Scherchen

16 December: The contract for "Quattro canzoni" marked the beginning of his collaboration with the Schott publishing house
Broadcast of the radio opera "Columbus" by the Bavarian Radio, Munich
Enforced end of his work as a free-lance with the Bavarian Radio, Munich

Started to work on the opera "Die Zaubergeige"
World première of the opera "Die Zaubergeige" in Frankfurt on the Main on 22 May
11 February: Met the director of the Preußisches Staatstheater, Heinz Tietjen, for the first time

9 March: Was appointed musical director at the Preußische Staatsoper Berlin

Began his new job on 31 October with a new production od Verdi´s "Don Carlos"

Made the acquaintance of Heinrich Strobel with whom he had close ties until Strobel´s death in 1970
14-19 June: Took part in the Paris congress of the "Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d' Auteurs et Compositeurs" (CISAC)

Contact with Arthur Honneger

17 December: Upon ministerial order, the name Egk became the legal family name

24 November: World première of the opera "Peer Gynt" at the Preußische Staatsoper; after the première Egk was exposed to political attacks in the party papers and to a démarche to Adolf Hitler directed against Egk
Another performance of "Peer Gynt" at the Music Festival Days of the Reich at Düsseldof through the services of Tietjen

19 May: Conferment of one of the three usual music awards at the Music Festival Days by Goebbels
Termination of the contract with the Preußische Staatsoper

World première of "Joan von Zarissa" at the Berlin Staatsoper on 20 January
10 April: Conclusion of five-year contract with the city of Frankfurt on the Main

August: Was appointed head of the "profession of the composers" at the Chamber of Music of the Reich as representative of the composers in the collecting society STAGMA

20. December: Joined the Berlin Staatsoper again as guest conductor
13 January: First scenic performance of "Columbus" in Frankfurt on the Main

from May: Prepared the performance of "Joan von Zarissa" at the Grand Opéra in Paris

Planned a joined post-war opera project with Jean Giraudoux

Meeting with Jean  Cocteau

11 December: Son Titus was called up for military service

22 December: Son Titus was sent to the front
7 January: Last sign of life from son Titus from the east; has been missing since
Meet Heinrich Strobel again at the Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden

Seccessful endeavours to unite the German composers in a union and to reestablish the German copyright society
Met Heinz Tietjen, Boris Blacher and Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt in Berlin

7 December: First concert performance of "Abraxas" at the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden
6 June: First scenic performance of "Abraxas" at the Prinzregententheater, Munich; after five sold-out performances the work was banned by the Bavarian Minister of Culture Hundhammer
28 March: Munich Arts Award
18 January: Was appointed professor of composition and director of the Berlin Hochschule für Musik

18 March: Berlin Arts Award

Became president of the advisory board of the GEMA and head of the German Composers´Union
29 August: Signed three-year contract with the Bayerische Staatsoper

17 October: The Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste admitted Egk as full member

20/21 October: Met Igor Stravinksy in Munich
29 October: Egk gave notice for 30 March 1953 as director of the Hochschule für Musik
6 May: World première of "Die chinesische Nachtigall" at the Deutsches Museum in Munich

15 May: Handed his post over to Boris Blacher at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik
31 May: Was elected president of the German Composers Union

26 October: Staatsintendant Rudolf Hartmann commissioned the composer to rehearse and direct all performances of his operas and ballets at the Bayerische Staatsoper. This contract was renewed every year and terminated after 20 years during the period of office of Hartmann´s successor Staatsintendant Günther Rennert
25 May: Bought a piece of land in Inning (Ammersee)

17 August: World première of "Irische Legende" at the Salzburg Festival
15 October: Started building a house in Inning
9 May: World première of "Der Revisor" at the Schwetzigen Festival

September: Met Igor Stravinsky and Luigi Nono

December: Completion of the house in Inning
Guest performances as conductor in East Berlin, Vienna, Stuttgart, Augsburg and Paris
January: Great Cross for Distinguished Service of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

13 January - 12 March: Trip to the West Indies with stopover in New York; visited Dimitri Mitropoulos

September: Trip to Leningrad and Moscow at the invitation of the Soviet government
23 May: Received the Gold Medal of the city of Munich

17 November: Was awarded the Ludwig Spohr Prize of the city of Braunschweig
26 June: Was awarded the Order of Merit of Bavaria
27 November: World première of "Die Verlobung in San Domingo" at the new National Theatre in Munich
20 May: Gold Medal for Science and Art of the city of Munich

2 June: World première of "17 Tage und 4 Minuten" at the Württembergisches Staatstheater in Stuttgart

20 June: Gold Medal of the Bavarian Radio presented by director Christian Wallenreiter

July: Admitted to the Deutsche Akademie der Künste in East Berlin as corresponding member
22 January - 18 February: Trip to South Africa

4 June: Honorary citizen of Auchsesheim (later part of Donauwörth)

8-16 September: Visit to Bucharest at the invitation of the Festival Georges Enescu
Summer: Worried about his seriously ill wife

18/19 October: Was elected president of the German Music Council
28 November: World première of "Casanova in London" at the Munich Nationaltheater

Startet working on the new version of the opera "Irische Legende"
7 September: Received the star of the Great Cross for Distinguished Service of the Federal Republic of Germany
13 December: A bust of Werner Egk was put up in the foyer of the Augsburg Stadttheater

Resigned from his office as president of the German Music Council
13 June: Received the honorary arts award of he city of Munich

Honorary Citizen of Donauwörth

31 August: End of the contractual commitment to the Bayerische Staatsoper

Beginning of October: Moved to Aarau (Switzerland)
Donation of a Werner Egk Prize by the city of Donauwörth which has been awarded every two years since then (for the first time in 1974 to Professor Eugen Jochum)

Beginning of September: Returned to Inning

26 February: First scenic performance of the new version of "Irische Legende" in Augsburg
Elected president of the CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) in Paris for two years
12 December: Death of Mrs Elisabeth Egk; burried in Donauwörth
The city of Donauwörth decided to set up a Werner Egk Community Centre
18 May: Chamber music matinée of the Bavarian State Orchestra at the Cuvilliéstheater in honour of Egk´s 80th birtday

22 May: Ceremony in Donauwörth

24 May: Ceremony in Augsburg
Opening of the Werner Egk Community Centre in Donauwörth in the presence of the composer; in 1993 the community centre moved into a new domicile on "Museum Island" where it has been open to visitors in a new desing since then
Werner Egk died in Inning on 10 July; at his own wish, he was burried in the municipal cemetery of Donauwörth