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Fritz Stein (Conductor, Musicologist)

Born: December 17, 1879 - Gerlachsheim, Baden, Germany
Died: November 14, 1961 - Berlin, Germany

The German conductor and musicologist, Fritz (actually, Friedrich Wi1helm) Stein, studied theology in Karlsruhe, then took courses in musicology with P. Wolfrum in Heidelberg. Subsequently he went to Leipzig, where he studied various subjects with Krehl, Nikisch, Riemann, and Karl Straube. He completed his musicological training at the University of Heidelberg, receiving Ph.D. in 1910, with the dissertation 'Zur Geschichte der Musik in Heidelberg (published in 1912).

Fritz Stein went to Jena in 1906 as music director of the University and city organist. In 1913 he was appointed professor of musicology at the University. He served in the German army during World War I and directed a male chorus for the troops at the front. He became a reader in musicology at the University of Kiel in 1920, then was a professor from 1928 to 1933. In 1933 he became director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, holding this position to the end of World War II in 1945.

Fritz Stein achieved notoriety when he discovered in the library of the University of Jena the parts of a symphony marked by an unknown copyist as a work by L.v. Beethoven. The symphony became famous as the Jena Symphony" and was hailed by many as a genuine discovery; the score was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1911, and performances followed all over the world; Stein published his own exegesis of it as "Eine unbekannte Jugendsymphonie L.v. Beethovens?" in the Sammelbitnde der Internationalen Musik-Gesellscbaft (1911). Doubts of its authenticity were raised, but it was not until 1957 that H.C. Robbins Landon succeeded in locating the original manuscript, proving that the Jena Symphony" was in reality the work of Friedrich Witt (1770-1837). Stein published a monograph on Max Reger (Potsdam, 1939) and Max Reger: Sein Leben in Bildern (a pictorial biography; Leipzig, 1941. He brought out a thematic catalogue of Max Reger's works (Leipzig, 1934); edited works by Johann Christian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, George Frideric Handel, L.v. Beethoven, etc.; contributed essays to numerous learned publications. A Festschrift was published in his honour on his 60th birthday (1939).


Source: Bakers Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2002)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Fritz Stein


2 movements from BWV 245

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