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95th birthday of Herbert Baumann on 31 July 2020

A good six months before his 95th birthday, the composer died this year on 21 January at the age of 94 in Munich. On July 31, 2020, we are to commemorate his 95th birthday, which he himself was not permitted to experience.

Baumann’s work, especially his ballet music for “Alice in Wonderland” and “Rumpelstiltskin”, but also his chamber music and orchestral works, have reached a large audience. In his cheerful manner and healthy optimism, Herbert Baumann inclined towards the dancing, rhythmic and vibrant in his music. He also composed for amateurs, frequently writing pieces that were accessible and easy to perform technically, and his goal was always to introduce people to music.  

Herbert Baumann was born on 31 July 1925 in Berlin, where he had a carefree childhood even in the shadow of the Second World War. Despite his early inclination towards music, he enrolled to study architecture at his father's request two years after the war’s end, but soon afterwards began to study conducting with Sergiu Celibidache in his first season with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and finally switched over entirely to music. He came to composing through writing a small piece for himself as a conducting exercise, which Celibidache passed on to the composition teacher Paul Höffer, who then offered Baumann free composition lessons.

As a result, Baumann studied for two years at the International Music Institute in Berlin with Paul Höffer and, after the latter's death, with Boris Blacher. At the same time, he composed as the head of stage music for the open-air stage at the Waldsee. When the position of Director of Stage Music at the Deutsches Theater Berlin became vacant, Höffer suggested the 22-year-old for this position, and for the next six years Baumann wrote many pieces of stage music for the Deutsches Theater; he also worked as a guest on numerous other theatrical stages throughout Germany.

In 1953 he joined the Staatliche Schauspielbühnen in West Berlin and moved to Munich in 1970, where he worked at the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel, composing for three theatres simultaneously. Since 1979 Baumann has been composing freelance. In 1998 he founded the Herbert Baumann Foundation, initially to promote plucked music through concerts, competitions and festivals. In the meantime, the foundation lends support to other kinds of music as well.

Herbert Baumann 
(31.07.1925 – 21.01.2020)
95th birthday
- Mexican Suite for Orchestra
- “Rondo with Mozart” for oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon (or four clarinets)
- Ballet music “Alice in Wonderland” and “Rumpelstiltskin”

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