• Joy of Music – Over 250 years of quality, innovation, and tradition
Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill

Country of origin: Germany
Birthday: March 2, 1900
Date of death: April 3, 1950

Upcoming Performances

About Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill was born in Dessau on 2 March 1900.  Having displayed musical talent early on, he became a substitute accompanist at the Dessau Court Theater during the First World War, and - after studying theory and composition with Albert Bing - enrolled at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.  Not liking the training with Engelbert Humperdinck, though, he was accepted finally into Ferruccio Busoni’s master class in composition.  In order to support himself, he conducted synagogue choirs, tutored students (e.g. Claudio Arrau, Maurice Abravanel) in music theory and contributed articles and reviews to "Der deutsche Rundfunk“.

By 1925, Weill had been established as one of the leading composers of his generation, along with Paul Hindemith and Ernst Krenek. In the same time, he turned to writing operas, collaborating a.o. with Georg Kaiser (e.g. Der Protagonist, Weill’s sensational theatrical debut in 1926, or Der Silbersee, 1933) and with Bertolt Brecht (e.g. Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny or the ballet The Seven Deadly Sins for Balanchine’s troupe). The Brecht-Weill piece Die Dreigroschenoper with its sometimes aggressive, sometimes sentimental popular song-style with elements of jazz, moritat and carabet songs remains one of his most famous works.

Weill’s compositions of the early thirties outraging the Nazis and campaigns discouraging productions of his work, Weill fled Germany in 1933 via Paris and London to America (in 1935) to oversee Max Reinhardt’s production of his opera Der Weg der Verheißung after Franz Werfel’s biblical spectacle. Weill and his wife Lotte Lenya stayed in the USA and applied for American citizenship.

Working mainly for Broadway, Weill established himself soon as a new and original voice in the American musical theater, often chosing unusual collaborators such as Paul Green, Maxwell Anderson, Ogden Nash, and Langston Hughes.  He also completed two film scores, including Fritz Lang’s You and Me.

In 1946 Weill was elected as the only composer-member of the distinguished Playwrights Producing Company (founded in 1938) which brought his musical version of Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer-Prize winning drama Street Scene to Broadway as an American opera, the first real successor to "Porgy and Bess“. Weill’s experiment Lady in the Dark was a big success and his daring last two works for Broadway, the concept musical Love Life and the musical tragedy Lost in the Stars, challenged the Broadway institution and audience to a degree that would not be met until the 1970s in the Sondheim-Prince collaborations.

Apart from his numerous stage works (including pantomime, ballet, student opera and operetta), Weill wrote two symphonies and other orchestral works, two string quartets and different kinds of vocal works.

He died on 3 April 1950 in New York City.

Worklist

Chronology

1900
Born in Dessau on 2 March as son of the synagogal cantor Albert Weill
1913
First compositions
1915 - 1918
Musical studies with Albert Bing, the opera kapellmeister of the Dessau Hoftheater; first employment as répétiteur
1918
Begins to study at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik with Engelbert Humperdinck and Paul Juon (composition), Friedrich Ernst Koch (counterpoint) and Rudolf Krasselt (conducting)
1919
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy scholarship for composition Répétiteur under Hans Knappertsbusch in Dessau From December kapellmeister and répétiteur at the Lüdenscheid Stadttheater
1921 - 1923
Studies composition in the master class of Ferruccio Busoni at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik; studies counterpoint with Philipp Jarnach.
1922
World premiere of the pantomime Zaubernacht at the Berlin Theater am Kurfürstendamm Joins the music division of the association of oppositional artists "Novembergruppe"
1924-1929
Critic and correspondent of the weekly Der deutsche Rundfunk
1925
World premiere of the Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra in Paris
1826
Marries the Viennese actress Lotte Lenya World premiere of the one-act opera Der Protagonist based on a libretto by Georg Kaiser in Dresden
1927
Begins his collaboration with Bertolt Brecht on Das kleine Mahagonny (world premiere at the German Chamber Music Festival in Baden-Baden with Lotte Lenya as singer)
1928
Becomes associated with Erwin Piscator's Political Theater; incidental music for Konjunktur by Leo Lania World premiere of Die Dreigroschenoper in Berlin with Lotte Lenya as "Pirate Jenny"
1930
World premiere of the opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Neues Theater Leipzig
1932
World premiere of Die Bürgerschaft at the Städtische Oper Berlin
1933
World premiere of Der Silbersee in Leipzig Divorce from Lotte Lenya Weill's music is forbidden in Germany by the National Socialists, music material is destroyed in the book burning in Berlin Emigrates to Paris World premiere of Die sieben Todsünden at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
1934
World premiere of Symphony No. 2 in Amsterdam
1935
Emigrates to the USA (New York, NY) via London
1936
World premiere of Weill's first Broadway musical Johnny Johnson
1937
World premiere of the oratorio Der Weg der Verheißung ("The Eternal Road") Remarries Lotte Lenya
1938
Beginning of his friendship and collaboration with Maxwell Anderson World premiere of the musical Knickerbocker Holiday at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York
1940
Begins collaboration with Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin
1941
World premiere of the Broadway musical Lady in the Dark at the Alvin Theater in New York
1943
Becomes a US citizen World premiere of One Touch of Venus at the New York Imperial Theatre World premiere of We will never die at Madison Square Garden
1945
Writes film score of Where do we go from Here Begins collaboration with Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes
1948
World premiere of Love Life
1949
World premiere of the musical Lost in the Stars on Broadway
1950
Kurt Weill dies following a heart attack on 3 April at the Flower Hospital, New York

Products

Performances

Set Descending Direction
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    October 28, 2022 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater — National premiere
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    November 1, 2022 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    November 9, 2022 | Solothurn (Switzerland) , Stadttheater — Premiere
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    November 12, 2022 | Solothurn (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    November 20, 2022 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • Symphonie in einem Satz
    Symphonie in einem Satz
    Conductor: Joanna Mallwitz
    Orchestra: Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
    November 20, 2022 | Hamburg (Germany) , Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal
  • Symphonie in einem Satz
    Symphonie in einem Satz
    Conductor: Joanna Mallwitz
    Orchestra: Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
    November 21, 2022 | Hamburg (Germany) , Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    November 23, 2022 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    December 23, 2022 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    December 30, 2022 | Solothurn (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    December 31, 2022 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    January 4, 2023 | Solothurn (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    January 5, 2023 | Solothurn (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    January 15, 2023 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    January 31, 2023 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
    Die sieben Todsünden
    Conductor: Iwan Wassilevski
    February 5, 2023 | Biel (Switzerland) , Stadttheater
  • Set Descending Direction
    Trusted Shops certified