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Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden (Choir Conductor)

Born: 1937 - Germany

The German choral conductor, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, was trained as a conductor under Kurt Eichhorn at the Academy of Music in Munich. He studied for three years further under Kurt Thomas, successor of J.S. Bach as the cantor of St Thomas church in Leipzig, and became vocal-training teacher thereafter. Schmidt-Gaden’s singing teachers, to mention only a few, were Helge Roswaenge (Munich), Otto Iro (Vienna) and Mario Tonelli (Florence). For more than twenty-five years, he worked in close collaboration with Carl Orff, and was a teacher at the Orff Institute. He recorded with his choir the entire - Tölzer Knabenchor - Orff’s Schulwerk. Moreover, his musical development has been deeply influenced by his close collaboration with Nikolaus Harnoncourt for many recordings and concerts since 1973.

As a vocal teacher and a specialist in childrens’ vocal training, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden's name has reached international reputation. He held a professorship in choral-conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg from 1980 to 1988. Between 1984 and 1989, he also worked as a choirmaster of chorus in Scala of Milan. His proficiency as an oratorio-conductor became known at the English Bach Festival, several Bach Festivals in Germany and at the Mozart Festival in Würzburg, the Berlin and the Israel Festival. He was invited to be a guest-conductor to the Salzburg Festival, to the Scala of Milan and to the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden has been the artistic director of the Israel Bach Festival since its creation in 1994.

Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden has held voice-training courses for singers, choirmasters and music teachers in Europe, Africa and Asia. His book Wege der Stimmbildung (Ways of vocal training) has been published in 1992 and is a best seller in its field. Several of his recordings such J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) have been awarded with international prizes. In 1983, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden was given the Cross of the Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1991, he received recognition awards by the Cultural Prince of High Bavaria and, in 1994, by the Order of Merit of Bavaria.

Source: Heinrich’s Tölzer Knabenchor Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden: Short Biography | Tölzer Knabenchor | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions

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