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Hermann Zilcher

Hermann Zilcher was born on 18 August 1881 in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). His father was the composer and pianist Paul Zilcher and so Hermann Zilcher received a musical education from an early age. In 1897 Hermann Zilcher began to study music at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main under James Kwast (piano), Iwan Knorr (counterpoint) and Bernhard Scholz (composition).


After his studies he moved to Berlin and became a favourable piano accompanist for singers and instrumentalists. As a pianist he also toured successfully through Europe and the US which led to an appointment as piano lecturer at the Akademie der Tonkunst in Munich already in 1908 and professor in 1916. In 1920 Hermann Zilcher became director of the conservatory in Würzburg and two years later he founded the annual Mozart Festival in the same city. The festival evolved into an internationally acclaimed event and is still held nowadays. In the late 1920s Hermann Zilcher also founded the Würzburg Chamber Orchestra which he directed himself and brought to national renown. This activity established his conducting career and for example he was invited several times by Wilhelm Furtwängler to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1930s.

During the time of the Nazi regime Hermann Zilcher was a "fellow traveller" - according to the decision of the denazification hearings after World War II in 1945. He composed glorifying music for the Nazi regime and in the last days of the war was on the Gottbegnadeten list, which spared him from military service.

Hermann Zilcher suffered a weak heart for several years and died suddenly on 1 January 1948 in Würzburg (Germany).


The work catalogue of Hermann Zilcher contains - among others - 5 symphonies, concertos for violin, piano and cello, 2 operas, the oratorio "Die Liebesmesse", chamber music, songs and vocal music.

In my possession is the autograph manuscript of a juvenile composition by Hermann Zilcher. The work is called "Albumblättchen", scored for piano and was composed in February 1891, when Hermann Zilcher was 9 years old. The composition is counted as "No.59" and dedicated to his teacher "Herrn Jasper".


The photo on the right side shows the young Hermann Zilcher. The photo was taken by the photographer Arthur Marx in Frankfurt am Main around 1890, so at the same time when the mentioned composition "Albumblättchen" was created.


Due to the fact that this composition is unpublished so far, I present the score here for information purposes.

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© Tobias Broeker