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Walter Courvoisier

Walter Courvoisier was born on 7 February 1875 in Riehen (Switzerland). His father was professor for surgery at the university in Basel and so Walter Courvoisier first followed the steps of his father and studied medicine. He began his studies at the university of his father and finished them as a Doctor of Medecine at the university in Strasbourg in 1900. But Walter Courvoisier quit working as a doctor already in 1902 to dedicate his life to the music. With the help of Swiss composer Hans Huber he became private student of Ludwig Thuille in Munich. In addition Walter Courvoisier also studied music theory with Adolf Sandberger at the university in Munich.

Already in 1907 Walter Courvoisier (together with Ernst Boehe) was appointed musical director of the Kaim Orchestra in Munich. And three years later he became teacher for music theory and composition at the State Academy for Music in Munich. In this position Walter Courvoisier was an eminent teacher for many renowned composers, his most notable students are Roberto Gerhard, Hermann Reutter, Willy Burkhard, Dora Pejacevic, Paul Ben-Haim and Heinrich Sutermeister. In 1921 Walter Courvoiser was appointed associate professor, in 1924 full professor. He continued his teaching career till his early death. Walter Courvoisier died on 27 December 1931 in Locarno (Switzerland) following a serious laryngeal disease.


The work catalogue of Walter Courvoisier has a strong emphasis on vocal music, especially Lieder. He composed more than 100 songs, but also works for voices and orchestra as well as three operas. Among his chamber music are a piano trio, a suite for violin solo, a movement for string quartet and a few piano works. Also known are the orchestral compositions Festival Ouverture and Symphonic Prologue.

2 sonatinas for piano


In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the "2 Sonatinen für Klavier" by Walter Courvoisier. The work was written in 1922 and is dedicated to "my dear little daughter Annemarie for the 21 June 1922". The work received no opus number and remained unpublished so far.

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