The German flutist and conductor, Kurt Redel, studied the flute, violin, piano, composition, orchestration, music history and conducting at the Conservatoire of Breslau (the Capital of Silesia and, since 1945, part of Poland and called Wroclaw), a town renowned for its conductors, notably Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter and Otto Klemperer). He also studied conducting with Clemens Krauss.
As the winner of the Vienna and Geneva International Music Competitions, Kurt Redel, at the age of 21, was made professor at the Salzburg Mozarteum. In 1939 he became a member of the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. In 1941 he joined the orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He was subsequently called to work in the town of Detmold, where the new North West German Music Academy had just opened. He taught there from 1946 to 1953.
In 1953 Kurt Redel formed the celebrated Munich Orchestra Pro Arte, with which he toured widely. Their first recording won Grands Prix from the Académie Charles Cros in Paris. As founder of the Lourdes Easter Festival - which he directed for 20 years - and as guest conductor of many leading choirs, festivals and symphony orchestras (Paris, Bordeaux, Aix-en-Provence, Menton, Prades, Lucerne, Montreux, Holland Festival, Madrid, Munich, Salzburg, etc.), Kurt Redel travelled widely, in the course of his career winning seven Grands Prix from the Académie Charles Cros in Paris. A Grand Prix Edison Amsterdam, Grand Prix ‘Orphée’ from the Opéra de Paris.
It was Kurt Redel who rediscovered Johann Pachelbel’s Canon (it was first recorded for Erato); he also performed world premiers of works by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, Frederick II (the Great), Georg Philipp Telemann (Marcello Fugues) and, of particular note, G.P. Telemann’s Passions and Magnificats. Igor Markevitch, who attended the first performance of the St Matthew Passion at the Lucerne Festival, acclaimed, ‘Redel has done for Telemann what Mendelssohn did 140 years earlier for Bach’s St Matthew Passion.’
For several years, Kurt Redel was present at the summer courses in Darmstadt, a key site for the performances of contemporary music, with such distinguished guests as Messian, René Leibowitz, Pierre Boulez, Nono, Bruno Maderna, Fortner, Henze, Stockhausen, Liebermann, medals from numerous festivals. In France Kurt Redel was made Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in Germany he was awarded a First Class Cross of Honour, and in Lourdes he received a Médaille d’or, with Pope John-Paul II personally handing Redel his silver medal.