Obituary: German Conductor Siegfried Kurz Dies at 92

By Francisco Salazar

On Jan. 8, Siegfried Kurz died of a long illness at the age of 92.

Born on July 18, 1930, in Dresden, Kurz began his musical career as a trumpeter and studied composition with Fidelio F. Finke. He also studied orchestral conducting and trumpet at the Academy of Music and Theatre in his hometown.

In 1949, a year before completing his studies, he was given the direction of the drama music at the Staatsschauspiel Dresden and remained in teh position until 1960 He would then move to the Staatsoper Dresden and began as Kapellmeister before moving up to be the Staatskapellmeister in 1964 and General Music Director in 1971.

In 1976 he became the executive musical director and in 1983, he ended his permanent engagement at the Staatsoper Dresden. In 1984 he was appointed Kapellmeister at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden.

As a conductor, he was known for his wide repertoire including the standard German repertoire from Mozart to Richard Strauss as well as the Italian and Slavis works. He was also committed to 20th-century operas like Schönberg’s “Moses und Aron,” Berg’s “Wozzeck,” Paul Dessau’s “Die Verurteilung des Lukullus and Lanzelot,” Orff’s “Antigonae,” and Udo Zimmermann’s “Levins Mühle.”

Outside of his conducting work, he was a composer mainly from the 1950s to the 1970s and dedicated himself to the neoclassicist, playful-musical idiom. he also focused on orchestral compositions and was influenced by Paul Hindemith.

For his work, he was awarded such prizes as the National Prize of the GDR. He also taught at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber from 1976, and became a professor in 1979.