Rudolf Wagner-Régeny, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Rudolf Wagner-Régeny

Austro-Hungarian composer

Date of Birth: 28-Aug-1903

Place of Birth: Reghin, Mureș County, Romania

Date of Death: 18-Sep-1969

Profession: composer, conductor, pianist, university teacher

Nationality: Germany, Romania

Zodiac Sign: Virgo

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About Rudolf Wagner-Régeny

  • Rudolf Wagner-Régeny (28 August 1903, Szászrégen, Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Reghin, Romania) – 18 September 1969, Berlin) was a composer, conductor, and pianist.
  • Born in Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary, since 1920 Romania, he became a German citizen in 1930, and then East German after 1945. From 1919 to 1920 he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory.
  • In 1920 he enrolled at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik as a student of Rudolf Krasselt and Siegfried Ochs for conducting, and for orchestration of Emil von Reznícek, and with Friedrich Koch and Franz Schreker for composition, graduating in 1923.
  • He served as chorusmaster at the Volksoper Berlin from 1923–1925.
  • In 1927 joined Laban's dance company where he conducted productions for three years. Wagner-Régeny first gained notice as a composer with his theatre pieces for Essen.
  • In 1929 he met the designer Caspar Neher, who wrote the texts for Wagner-Régeny's best-known operas.
  • In 1930 Wagner-Régeny became a naturalized German citizen, and married, his wife being half-Jewish.
  • Between 1930 and 1945 he worked as a freelance composer and teacher, and with the rise of the Nazis was promoted by a faction of the party as a composer of the future despite the stylistic closeness of his music to the proscribed Kurt Weill.
  • He managed to gain the friendship and esteem of Baldur von Schirach and his works were performed by Karl Böhm and Herbert von Karajan.
  • However, the success of his opera Der Günstling (after Georg Büchner, Dresden, February 20, 1935) was followed by doubts regarding his subsequent output, ending in a scandal with his opera Johanna Balk at the Vienna State Opera (April 4, 1941), which aroused the ire of Joseph Goebbels.
  • As punishment, Wagner-Regény was drafted into the military in 1942 (or 1943), though he managed to secure a desk job in the army, and survived the war. After the close of World War II, Rudolf Wagner-Régeny opted for East instead of West Germany.
  • He was director of the Rostock Hochschule für Musik from 1947 to 1950.
  • In 1950 he was appointed as a professor of composition at the (East) Berlin Hochschule für Musik and at the Academy of Arts.
  • He continued to work there until illness prevented it in 1968. As a composer, Wagner-Regény wrote numerous symphonic works and chamber works.
  • He composed 12 operas of which Die Bürger von Calais (1936, libretto by Neher), Johanna Balk (1938), Das Bergwerk zu Falun (1958, after ETA Hoffmann) (cf.
  • "The Mines of Falun") and Prometheus (1959) are considered his best work.
  • His 1958 ballet Tristan is also greatly admired.
  • He struggled to find a musical language distinct from the extremes of modernism but without any association with fascist aesthetics.
  • His early compositions were inspired by Busoni, Kurt Weill and Schoenberg.
  • His theatre collaborations with Neher and Bertolt Brecht were also of importance for the development of his style.
  • After composing works along traditional lines, he adopted his own twelve-tone serial technique in 1950.
  • In their transparency and austerity, his stage works follow the music theatre of Weill and Hanns Eisler and somewhat parallel those of Boris Blacher.

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