Siegfried Palm

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Siegfried Palm
Born(1927-04-25)25 April 1927
Barmen, Germany
Died6 June 2005(2005-06-06) (aged 78)
Frechen, Germany
  • Cellist
  • Director of an opera house
  • Director of a University of music
Years active1945 (1945)–2005
Known forcompositions dedicated to him

Siegfried Palm (25 April 1927 – 6 June 2005) was a German cellist who is known worldwide for his interpretations of contemporary music. Many 20th-century composers like Kagel, Ligeti, Xenakis, Penderecki and Zimmermann wrote music for him. He was also Rektor of the Hochschule für Musik Köln and Intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.



Siegfried Palm was born in Barmen (now Wuppertal). At the age of 8 he started to learn playing the cello from his father; later he studied with Enrico Mainardi in master classes in Salzburg and Lucerne. [1] [2]

He played as principal cellist in various orchestras, among others in Lübeck since 1945, in the NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg under Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt since 1947, [3] and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne 1962–1968. [4]

Siegfried Palm premiered cello concertos as well as contemporary chamber music. He was a member of the Hamann-Quartett 1951–1962. He played in a duo with the pianist Aloys Kontarsky 1962–1983, and since 1967 he was a member of the piano trio Rostal/Schröter/Palm, replacing Gaspar Cassadó. In 1962 he became teacher of a master class for violoncello at the Hochschule für Musik Köln (then called Staatliche Hochschule für Musik), and from 1972 until 1976 head of this institute. [4]

He started teaching at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt in 1962. [4] From 1976 until 1981 he was Intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. [4] He was president of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) [5] 1982–1988, [4] and president of the Deutsch-Französischer Kulturrat 1988–2000. [6] He conducted master classes and workshops around the world, as at the Carl-Flesch-Akademie in Baden-Baden, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada, at the Royal Conservatory in Stockholm 1966, Dartmouth College 1969, Marlboro College several times between 1970 and 1990, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki 1971, and in Los Angeles 1983. [2] He also served in the juries of international competitions. [1] Palm appeared as the music teacher Wendell Kretzschmar in the 1982 German film Doktor Faustus . [7] [8]

Siegfried Palm influenced the music of his century considerably, comparable to the cellists Gregor Piatigorsky and Mstislav Rostropovich. He suggested composers to write new works for his instrument, and it is partly due to him that the cello advanced to one of the most important solo instruments in contemporary music.

Siegfried Palm played a cello built 1708 by Gianbattista Grancino that Julius Klengel had played before. He died in Frechen.

Music for Siegfried Palm

Siegfried Palm premiered new music, many composers wrote new works for him, some dedicated to him, music for cello and orchestra as well as chamber music and music for cello solo. [2] [3] [4] [6] [9] Music has included:


Numerous recordings of Siegfried Palm appeared with various labels, among others Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips Classics Records and Teldec. Many of them are still available. [10]

Other positions


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  1. 1 2 3 4 Tim Janof (1998). "Conversation with Siegfried Palm". Internet Cello Society. Retrieved 31 August 2009. Siegfried Palm has had a distinguished and varied performing career. He was Principal Cellist of orchestras in Lubeck, Hamburg, and Cologne, cellist in the Hamann Quartet, and a member of a trio with Max Rostal and Heinz Schroter. He has given masterclasses worldwide and has served as a jury member at numerous international competitions. He has recorded for several companies and has had works dedicated to him by composers such as Krzystof Penderecki, Yannis Xenakis, Boris Blacher, and Gyorgy Ligeti. He was Director of the State Conservatoire in Cologne, Director of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, President of the German Composers' Society, and President of ESTA. In 1969 and 1976 he was awarded the German Gramophone prize, and in 1972 he was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque International.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Le Panthéon des musiciens, obituaires de janvier 2005 à juin 2005" (in French). Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  3. 1 2 Gerhard Rohde ( Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ) (8 June 2005). "Das komponierende Cello – Anreger der Avantgarde: Zum Tod von Siegfried Palm" (in German). Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2009. Die Liste der Uraufführungen, die sich mit seinem Namen verbinden, ist unendlich lang, und die Namen der Komponisten lesen sich wie ein Gotha der Neuen Musik: György Ligeti, Winfried Zillig, Boris Blacher, Rolf Liebermann, Morton Feldman, Miko Kelemen, Wolfgang Rihm, York Höller, Dimitri Terzakis, Tilo Medek, Wolfgang Fortner, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Mauricio Kagel, Cristobal Halffter, Isang Yun und Bernd Alois Zimmermann. (translated: The list of premieres connected to his name, is infinite, and the names of composers read like a who's who of contemporary music.) ... Entscheidend für Siegfried Palms Lebensweg wurde nach dem Krieg die lange Mitgliedschaft als Solocellist im Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks unter Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. Der Konzertmeister des NDR-Sinfonieorchesters Bernhard Hamann nahm Palm in sein Streichquartett auf. (translated: The course of life of Siegfried Palm after the war was decided by his long membership in the NDR Symphony Orchestra. The concert master Bernhard Hamann included him in his string quartett.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Campbell, Margaret (2 July 2005). "Cellist and Opera Director". The Independent . Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  5. "International Society for Contemporary Music". Archived from the original on 7 September 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Cellist Professor Siegfried Palm erhält das Große Verdienstkreuz mit Stern" (in German). 12 January 2004. Retrieved 1 September 2009. Professor Palm übte die ehrenamtliche Aufgabe des Präsidenten des Deutsch-Französischen Kulturrats von 1988 in drei Amtsperioden bis Ende 2000 aus. ... Seit 1998 ist er Präsident des Internationalen Jugend-Festspieltreffens Bayreuth, dessen Vorstand er seit 1994 angehört.
  7. "Doctor Faustus cast" . Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  8. Doktor Faustus at IMDb
  9. "Die Grenzen des Celloklangs überschreiten" (in German). March 2005. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2009. (Transcending the Limits of Cello Sound)
  10. cdUniverse
  11. "Intercomunicazione" . Retrieved 10 September 2009. Siegfried Palm is virtually a legend, probably the most adventurous and respected new-music cellist of the 60s, at least in Europe, and the dedicatee and premiere performer of many important pieces of the era, including the cello concertos of B. A. Zimmermann and Ligeti.
  12. Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center award Archived 17 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Schott