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Erich Keller

Erich Keller was born on 21 July 1918 in Augsburg (Germany). He learned violin from an early age and after finishing school he studied music at the conservatory in Augsburg. From 1938 to 1942 he studied violin under Wilhelm Stross at the „Akademie der Tonkunst“ in Munich and attended a masterclass with Georg Kulenkampff in 1941. During World War II he also studied medicine and passed the first section of the medical examination to work as an army doctor in Italy.


In 1945 he became the principal concertmaster of the symphony orchestra of the Bavarian radio (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) and remained in this position till his retirement in 1981. So Erich Keller was a major part of the development of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra from the restart after World War II to one of the best orchestras in the world, first under principal conductor Eugen Jochum, later under Rafael Kubelik.

Beside his work in the orchestra Erich Keller was highly interested in chamber music and was part of different ensembles. Together with his wife, the pianist Elisabeth Schwarz, and the cellist Max Braun he formed the „Münchner Kammertrio“. Erich Keller also founded the „Keller Quartet“ in 1945 together with Karl Schindler (2nd violin), Adalbert Huber (viola) and Max Braun (cello). And he was part of the „Münchner Nonett“, an ensemble that was founded in 1960 and composers like Harald Genzmer, Werner Egk, Günter Bialas or Berthold Hummel wrote compositions especially for this formation. In 1950 Erich Keller also founded the chamber orchestra Convivium Musicum. In addition to his performing Erich Keller also taught at the conservatory in Augsburg and the Musikhochschule in Munich.

Erich Keller died on 08 September 2010.


There were no known compositions by Erich Keller so far. He only published a violin school together with composer Harald Genzmer in the 1980s. The compositions by Erich Keller in my archive date from 1934 to 1945. So these works are the first steps of the young musician Erich Keller into the art of composing, spanning the time from his last school days at the age of 16 to the end of his musical studies. It seems that Erich Keller stopped composing from the moment when he became the concertmaster of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The compositions in my archive are:


  • Wir sind die Hitlerjugend, for small orchestra (1934)
  • Caprice for violin and piano (1936)
  • Weihnachtsglocken, for piano op.6 (1936)
  • Schöne Fremde, for voice and piano (1936)
  • Der Tod in den Ähren, for voice and piano (1936)
  • Romanze for violin and piano (1937)
  • Air for violin and piano (1937)
  • Rastlose Liebe, for voice and piano (1937)
  • Ruhiges Herz, for voice and piano (1937)
  • An die Natur, for voice and piano (1937)
  • String quartet (1938)
  • An die Geliebte, for voice and piano (1943)
  • An die Rose, for voice and piano (1945)
  • Waltz for orchestra
  • Vorspiel, for orchestra (only piano reduction, and the part for violin I)


In addition there are also two handful of pencil drawings, mainly with motives from Tyrol (like „Sand in Taufers“) and dated 1944/45. These were surely drawn by Erich Keller during his time as an army doctor.


Below one can find the full scores of a few compositions by Erich Keller:

PDF-Dokument [138.7 KB]
PDF-Dokument [290.4 KB]
PDF-Dokument [289.3 KB]
PDF-Dokument [123.7 KB]
PDF-Dokument [81.0 KB]
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© Tobias Broeker