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The great music publisher Prof. Dr. Hans W. Sikorski dies

Prof. Dr Hans W. Sikorski is dead. He has died in Hamburg on 22 January 2021 at the age of 94.

Hans W. Sikorski was the son of the founder of the publisher Hans Sikorski. Beyond his work as a publisher, he was regarded by the music world as an institution and doyen of the German music publishing sector. He retired from active publishing work in 2002. Until shortly before his death, he attended numerous concerts and opera performances in Hamburg and was highly respected in the music scene.

The former publishing director of Sikorski Music Publishers, Hans-Ulrich Duffek, writes: “I am very saddened. A great personality of musical life and a worldly-wise and generous person has passed away. We owe him a lot.” And the long-time head of the PR and advertising department, Helmut Peters, adds: “Prof. Sikorski was the soul of Sikorski Music Publishers. He participated in musical life with such dedication and was a generous and understanding interlocutor for the authors and customers of the house as well as for his staff.”

Hans W. Sikorski joined his father's music publishing company in 1968. From the very outset, he devoted particular attention to cultural relations with Eastern Europe, especially with the former Soviet Union. Almost the entire musical repertoire of great 20th century Russian composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturian, Alfred Schnittke, Giya Kancheli, Sofia Gubaidulina and Galina Ustvolskaya was made accessible to the Western music world thanks to his pioneering work. He also felt a strong commitment to Western European modernism. Thus, he was able to gain composers such as Moritz Eggert, Milko Kelemen, Rolf Liebermann, Krzysztof Meyer, Jan Müller-Wieland, Jens-Peter Ostendorf and Peter Ruzicka for the publishing house. In addition, he did his utmost to develop the field of popular music, which was an important second pillar of the publishing house in his era. Here, authors such as Franz Grothe, Les Humphries, Peter Kreuder, Eduard Künnecke, Theo Mackeben, Lothar Olias, Norbert Schultze and Robert Stolz were of particular importance to him. Rolf Zuckowski also entrusted his successful song writing to him.

Hans W. Sikorski received many awards for his great commitment to voluntary work: he was appointed Professor by the Hamburg Senate (1985): Cross of Merit First Class (1990), Grand Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1996) and Silver Portugaleser (1993). GEMA awarded him a rarely granted honorary membership as well as the Richard Strauss Medal for services to copyright and the GEMA Ring of Honour. The Hamburg Bach Society elected him Honorary Chairman, the Hamburg Conservatory made him Honorary President of its Board of Trustees. He was also Honorary President of the German Music Publishers Association and was awarded the Medal for Services to Musical Life.

Hans W. Sikorski also fulfilled many functions at an international level. He served for instance for many years as Vice-President of the International Federation of Music Publishers (IFPMP) London/Amsterdam and was Honorary President of BIEM, Paris. In 1998, CISAC, the international umbrella organisation of collecting societies, awarded him its Gold Medal for longstanding services to copyright.

Hans W. Sikorski published a large number of articles on music, cultural and copyright policy issues in numerous books and journals and worked for many years as an honorary lecturer at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre.

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