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Rudi Stephan

Rudi Stephan

Country of origin: Germany
Birthday: July 29, 1887
Date of death: September 29, 1915

About Rudi Stephan

The German composer Rudi Stephan was born in Worms on July 29, 1887. He studied with Bernhard Sekles and Rudolf Louis and grew up in Worms as the son of a wealthy family of lawyers. Later he lived in Munich, where he presented his first compositions in 1911. Due to his early death, he was able to complete only a few compositions. Objectively, despite this limitation, he was considered one of the most talented German composers of his generation during his lifetime. He made his first public appearance on January 16, 1911, at a concert in the Tonhalle in Munich, which was made possible with a substantial financial contribution from his father. In his concert works, he dispensed with genre designations or substantive work titles, but simply called them "Musik" in the spirit of modernism, such as his Musik for 7 strings, Musik for Violin and Orchestra, and Musik for Orchestra.

In 1915, Stephan's most important and largest work was published: the opera Die ersten Menschen ("The First Humans"). By this time Stephan was already a recognized composer whose works were published by Schott. His music is situated on the threshold between late Romanticism and modernism, integrating tonal traditions as well as impressionistic sounds and freitonal developments. Stephan was drafted by the military and fought as a soldier in the First World War. On September 29, 1915, at the age of only 28, he was killed in action near Tarnopol in what is now the border region of Poland and Ukraine.

The new production of Die ersten Menschen at Oper Frankfurt attracted attention in 2023 and was voted "Re-Discovery of the Year" in the annual music critics' choice of Opernwelt magazine.