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Siegfried Ochs (Conductor, Composer)

Born: April 19, 1858 - Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Died: February 6, 1929 - Berlin, Germany

The German conductor and composer, Siegfried Ochs, abandoned the prospect of a successful career as a chemist in his late teens and moved to Berlin, where he enrolled in 1878 in the Königliche Musikschule (Royal School of Music) in Berlin, which stood at that time under the rectorate of Joseph Joachim. Ochs studied ensemble playing with Joseph Joachim and choral singing with Adolf Schulze.

From a making music friend circle Siegfried Ochs created in December 1882 the “Siegfried Ochs’ sche Gesangsverein” (Siegfried Ochs' Singing Association), which later would become the Philharmonischen Chor. He led this choir from its inception until 1920. In February 1883, only three months after its establishment, the choir appeared in public for the first time. In 1884 choir sang at the Berliner Philharmonie the choral part in Flucht aus Ägypten by H. Berlioz. In March 1889 a firm contract was established between the Berliner Philharmonischen Orchester and the Ochs' Philharmonischen Chor. The Berliner Philharmonischer Chor was conducted several times between 1888 and 1892 by Hans von Bülow, who had studied with Moritz Hauptmann in Leipzig. Von Bulow was a prominent figure in the Bach revival and an admirer of Ochs's work..

Siegfried Ochs became a Professor in 1889. In 1900 he created with J. Joachim the “Neue Bach-Gesellschaft” (New Bach Company). Ochs was something of a specialist in early music and made the first recording of any composition by Heinrich Schütz. He also gave the first performance in Berlin of the Bruckner Te Deum. As Martin Elste remarked in his "New Grove" entry on Ochs, he was "noted for his extreme care in rehearsing, fine musicianship, and natural sense of style (especially in early music)." He rendered his lasting services around the music of J.S. Bach, and in the early 1920’s recorded the opening chorus from Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244), which was the first ever recording of music from this magnificent work.

As a composer Siegfried Ochs is well-known by the variations of the song Kommt ein Vogel geflogen and the comic opera Im Namen des Gesetzes.

Source: Berlin Lexicon Website (1998-2002), English translation by Aryeh Oron (July 2004)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2004), Prof Eric Derom (June 2005)

Siegfried Ochs: Short Biography | Berliner Philharmonischer Chor | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Ochs, Siegfried - Berlin Lexikon [German]


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