About Werner EgkWerner Egk was born in Auchsesheim (now district of Donauwörth), Bavaria, as Werner Mayer on 17 May 1901. In 1921 he studied theory, composition and conducting with Carl Orff in Munich. In the same year Egk worked at a theatre in Schwabing as stage manager, scene painter and director of incidental music. In 1922 he started studying philosophy and musicology (with Adolf Sandberger) at the Munich university. Since his marriage with the violinist Elisabeth Karl in 1923 he called himself Werner Egk. After one year in Italy (1926/27) he returned to Munich and worked as musical director of an orchestra at a cinema. One year later he moved to Berlin, where he came into close contact with a.o. Kurt Weill, Erich Mühsam, Jürgen Fehling, Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator, but returned to Munich in the same year. At this time he started working for the radio, creating several works for the new medium.
The world premiere of his opera Die Zaubergeige [The Magic Violin] (Frankfurt 1935), being one of the most popular operas in Germany for the following years, marked the beginning of his international career as an opera composer. In 1936 he became conductor at the Berlin State Opera, and in 1941 he was appointed chairman of the Composers Board at the Reichsmusikkammer. After the world war Egk continued his courageous defence of the rights of composers, working in key positions at the GEMA and with international collection societies, such as a chairman of the Composers Board at the GEMA (since 1950), as president of the German Composers Association (since 1954) and as president of the German Music Council (since 1968).
The first scenic performance of Abraxas in Munich in 1948 attracted special attention, as the ballet was banned by the Bavarian Minister of Cultural Affairs, Alois Hundhammer, after five performances. From 1950-53 Egk worked as professor of composition and director at the Musikhochschule in West Berlin. In 1954 Staatsintendant Rudolf Hartmann commissioned him to rehearse and direct all performances of his operas and ballets at the Bavarian State Opera. This contract terminated after 20 years during the period of office of Hartmann's successor Staatsintendant Günther Rennert. For his musical oeuvre, which covers almost every musical genre, Egk has been awarded a.o. the Honorary Arts Award of the city of Munich (1972), the star of the Grand Cross for Distinguished Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (1970), the Gold Medal for Science and Art of the city of Munich (1966), the Order of Merit of Bavaria (1962) and the Berlin Arts Award (1950) and the Olympic Gold Medal (1936).
Werner Egk died in Inning on 10 July 1983.
Born in Auchsesheim (Bavaria) on 17 May as third child of the teacher Joseph Mayer and his wife Marie, née Buck
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
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
Matriculated as student of philosophy at the University of Munich
Attended lectures on musicology with Adolf Sandberger
Met the violinist Elisabeth Karl
Summer: Trip to Portofino (Italy) for convalenscene
September: Moved to Rapallo (Italy)
Worked as musical director of an orchestra at the cinema "Phöbus-Palast"
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
16 December: The contract for "Quattro canzoni" marked the beginning of his collaboration with the Schott publishing house
Started to work on the opera "Die Zaubergeige"
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
Gold Medal for the composition "Olympische Festmusik" at the Olympic Games in Berlin
Contact with Arthur Honneger
17 December: Upon ministerial order, the name Egk became the legal family name
19 May: Conferment of one of the three usual music awards at the Music Festival Days by Goebbels
World première of "Joan von Zarissa" at the Berlin Staatsoper on 20 January
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
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
Seccessful endeavours to unite the German composers in a union and to reestablish the German copyright society
7 December: First concert performance of "Abraxas" at the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden
18 March: Berlin Arts Award
Became president of the advisory board of the GEMA and head of the German Composers´Union
17 October: The Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste admitted Egk as full member
20/21 October: Met Igor Stravinksy in Munich
15 May: Handed his post over to Boris Blacher at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik
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
17 August: World première of "Irische Legende" at the Salzburg Festival
September: Met Igor Stravinsky and Luigi Nono
December: Completion of the house in Inning
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
17 November: Was awarded the Ludwig Spohr Prize of the city of Braunschweig
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
4 June: Honorary citizen of Auchsesheim (later part of Donauwörth)
8-16 September: Visit to Bucharest at the invitation of the Festival Georges Enescu
18/19 October: Was elected president of the German Music Council
Startet working on the new version of the opera "Irische Legende"
Resigned from his office as president of the German Music Council
Honorary Citizen of Donauwörth
31 August: End of the contractual commitment to the Bayerische Staatsoper
Beginning of October: Moved to Aarau (Switzerland)
Beginning of September: Returned to Inning
22 May: Ceremony in Donauwörth
24 May: Ceremony in Augsburg
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