August 2, 1905

  • Born on August 2 in Munich as the fourth son of the married couple Friedrich Richard (1866–1925) and Gertrud Hartmann (1874–1935; née Schwamm) after the brothers Adolf (1900–1971), Fritz (1902–1974) and Richard (1903–1969)

Karl Amadeus Hartmann at the age of 12Photo: private property

Education and studies


  • 1919–1922

    Attending the teacher training college in Pasing

  • 1924–1931

    Studies at the State Academy of Music in Munich

Karl Amadeus HartmannPhoto: private property


  • 1928

    Tour of the Russian-Jewish theatre group “Habima” – visit of the performances in the Munich Kammerspiele

  • 1929

    First meeting with the conductor Hermann Scherchen in Munich

  • 1931

    World premiere of the “Tanzsuite für Bläserquintett” [Dance Suite for Wind Quintet] and the “Burleske Musik für Bläser, Schlagzeug und Klavier” [Burlesque Music for Wind, Percussion and Piano] at the concerts of the Munich Artists’ Association “Die Juryfreien e.V.”, for which Hartmann was responsible

  • 1932

    World premiere of the 1st piano sonata, the “Kleines Konzert für Streichquartett und Schlagzeug” [Little Concerto for String Quartet and Percussion], the Sonatina for piano and the Toccata variata at the concerts of the Munich Artists’ Association “Die Juryfreien e.V.”

Karl meets his wife-to-be, Elisabeth Reußmann Photo: private property


  • World premiere of the trumpet concerto (preliminary stage of the 5th Symphony) during a music-dramatic workshop in Strasbourg conducted by Hermann Scherchen

    The “Burleske Musik für Bläser, Schlagzeug und Klavier” [Burlesque music for winds, percussion and piano] is published by Benno Balan in Berlin

Karl Amadeus Hartmann with Vilmos Palotai and Alexander Jemnitz at one of Scherchen's workshops in StrasbourgPhoto: private property



  • Wedding with Elisabeth Reußmann (1913–2003), whom he met at the events of the Munich artists’ association “Die Juryfreien e.V.”

Wedding with Elisabeth ReußmannPhoto: unknown

Birth of his son

June 12, 1935

  • Birth of the son Richard

Karl Amadeus with Elisabeth and his son RichardPhoto: private property


  • 1935

    World premiere of “Miserae” at the IGNM festival in Prague (conductor: Hermann Scherchen); the orchestral work reviewed by Max Brod was dedicated by Hartmann: “Meinen Freunden, die hundertfach sterben mußten, die für die Ewigkeit schlafen – wir vergessen Euch nicht. (Dachau, 1933–1934)” [To my friends, who had to die a hundred times, who sleep for eternity – we do not forget you.]

  • 1936

    First prize at the Geneva chamber music competition “Carillon” for the 1st string quartet, which is premiered the same year by the Végh-Quartett

  • 1937

    Award for the choral cantata “Friede Anno 48” (text: Andreas Gryphius and Karl Amadeus Hartmann) by the Emil Hertzka Memorial Foundation in Vienna (jury member: Anton Webern)

  • 1938

    Second performance of the 1st string quartet at the 16th IGNM Festival in London by the Kutcher Quartet (addition to Hartmann’s name in the programme: “Germany, Independent”)

    Meeting with Elias Canetti

Karl Amadeus Hartmann (l.) and Karl with Hermann Scherchen (r.)Photo: private property

Second World War


  • 1939

    World premiere of the symphony “L’Œuvre” at the festive concerts of the “Concours Guillaume Lekeu” on the occasion of the world exhibition in Liège (Belgium)

    Second performance by the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Belgian Nationaal Instituut voor de Radio-omroep (conductor: Franz André)

  • 1940

    World premiere of the violin concerto “Musik der Trauer” (the later “Concerto funebre”) composed in 1939 in St. Gallen by Ernst Klug

    Start of the western campaign of the German Wehrmacht on May 10, 1940; a radio premiere of “Simplicius Simplicissimus”, a piece of music calling for political upheaval, had been planned for the end of May on Brussels Radio and is cancelled by the radio station because of concerns about the consequences

    A world premiere of the “Sinfonia tragica”, nevertheless scheduled by and also dedicated to Paul Collaer, the head of the music department of the Belgian Radio, cannot take place either

  • 1941

    Anton Webern, during this time editor at Universal Edition Vienna, asks Karl Amadeus Hartmann to send in various scores

  • 1942

    Private lessons with Anton Webern in Maria Enzersdorf near Vienna (October to November)

  • 1943

    Karl Amadeus Hartmann sends his new composition “Symphonische Hymnen” [Symphonic hymns] to Universal Edition in Vienna

    As protection against the effects of war and out of fear of discovery by the National Socialists, he buries his scores in a zinc box in the parish garden of his friend Pastor Dr. Otto Satzinger in Murnau

    Travels abroad become almost impossible for Hartmann; he hides in his parents-in-law’s cellar in Kempfenhausen (Lake Starnberg)

  • 1944

    Hartmann dedicates his recently completed symphony “Klagegesang” [Lament] to his friend Robert Havemann who was imprisoned by the Nazis

  • 1945

    In Kempfenhausen, Hartmann witnesses the evacuation of the prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp; immediately afterwards, he deals with this experience in his piano sonata “27. April 1945”

1940 in St. Gallen
Die Brüder Hartmann – v. l. n. r.: Adolf, Richard, Fritz & Karl AmadeusPhoto: Privat

First post-war years


  • 1945

    After the end of the war, the American military administration offers him leading management positions at the opera and radio; Hartmann rejects these, however, and he takes over the function of a musical dramaturge at the Bavarian State Opera

    Hartmann realizes a matinee series dedicated to “den fortschrittlichen und neuzeitlichen Strömungen der Musik” [the progressive and modern currents in music, KAH]; beginning of the later musica viva, one of the most successful concert series for new music to date

  • 1947

    World premiere of the Symphonic Overture “China kämpft” [China fights] at the Festival of the International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt (conductor: Hermann Scherchen)

  • 1948

    Concert premiere and first broadcast (April 2) of “Simplicius Simplicissimus” (conductor: Hans Rosbaud) by Radio München (the later Bayerischer Rundfunk); at the same time premiere of the “Symphonie für Streichorchester” [Symphony for String Orchestra], the later 4th Symphony resulting from “Symphonie für Streicher” [Symphony for Strings] of 1938

    World premiere (May 25) of “Symphonisches Fragment ‘Versuch eines Requiems'” [Symphonic Fragment ‘Attempt of a Requiem’], the later 1st Symphony, at Radio Frankfurt (conductor: Winfried Zillig)

  • 1949

    Music Award of the City of Munich

    Scenic premiere (October 20) of “Simplicius Simplicissimus” in Cologne (conductor: Richard Kraus, production: Erich Bormann and stage: Walter Gondolf)

    World premiere of the “Konzert für Bläserensemble und Kontrabässe” [Concerto for Wind Ensemble and Double Basses], intermediate stage to the 5th Symphony, in Zurich by Hermann Scherchen

    World premiere of the 2nd string quartet in Milan by the Végh-Quartett

Karl Amadeus and ElisabethPhoto: private property


  • 1950

    Art Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts Munich

    World premiere (February 10) of the 3rd Symphony (based on movements from “Sinfonia tragica” and the symphony “Klagegesang”) on Bayerischer Rundfunk (conductor: Erich Schmid)

    Invitation from the GDR ministry to become an academician and director of the Academy of Music in East Berlin; Hartmann firmly rejects; he does not allow himself to be swayed by the insistence of Walter Ulbricht, Johannes R. Becher and Robert Havemann

    World premiere (September 10) of the 2nd Symphony, a revised version of the Adagio from the “Symphonische Suite ‘Vita nova'” of 1943, at the Donaueschinger Musiktage with the Symphony Orchestra of the Südwestfunk (conductor: Hans Rosbaud)

    Performance of the 4th Symphony at the IGNM festival in Brussels (conductor: Hermann Scherchen)

  • 1951

    World premiere (April 21) of the 5th Symphony (“Symphonie concertante”) in its final version in Stuttgart with the Südfunk Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Hans Müller-Kray); preliminary stages of the symphony: “Concerto für Solo-Trompete und Bläser-Kammerorchester” [Concerto for solo trumpet and wind chamber orchestra], premiered in Strasbourg in 1932, and “Konzert für Bläserensemble, Kontrabässe und zwei Solotrompeten” [Concerto for wind ensemble, double basses and two solo trumpets], premiered in Zurich in 1949

    Performance of the 3rd Symphony at the IGNM-Fest in Frankfurt am Main

    Performance of the 4th Symphony at the Wiener Festwochen

  • 1952

    Member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts

  • 1953

    World premiere (April 24) of the 6th Symphony (adapted from “Symphonie L’Œuvre” of 1938; finally only Adagio taken over in revised form, 2nd movement “Toccata variata” newly composed) in the Munich musica viva concert with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugen Jochum

    World premiere (October 10) of the “Konzert für Klavier, Bläser und Schlagzeug” [Concerto for Piano, Wind and Percussion] at the Donaueschinger Musiktage with the Symphony Orchestra of the Südwestfunk (conductor: Hans Rosbaud, soloist: Maria Bergmann)

  • 1954

    Awarding of the Schönberg Medal of the IGNM (International Society for New Music)

    Separation from the Süddeutscher Musikverlag Willy Müller in Heidelberg; start of the exclusive cooperation with B. Schott’s Söhne in Mainz

Karl Amadeus HartmannPhoto: Herbert List


  • 1955

    Appointment as member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin (West)

    World premiere (June 26) of “Lamento” for soprano and piano (arranged excerpts from “Friede Anno 48” of 1936/37) on the island of Mainau in Lake Constance (soloists: Annelies Kupper and Carl Seemann)

  • 1956

    World premiere (May 25) of the Concerto for Viola and Piano at the Tage für Neue Musik in Frankfurt am Main with the Hessian Radio Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Otto Matzerath, viola: Jascha Vleissi and piano: Annemarie Bohne)

  • 1957

    World premiere (July 9) of the new version of “Simplicius Simplicissimus” at the Nationaltheater Mannheim (conductor: Karl Fischer, production: Joachim Klaiber and stage: Paul Walter)

    Grand Art Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

    Performance of the 6th symphony at the IGNM festival in Zurich

    Offer of a professorship at the Staatliche Musikhochschule Köln (rejected)

    World premiere (22 June) of the new version of the 1st Symphony “Versuch eines Requiems” by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Wiener Festwochen (conductor: Nino Sanzogno and soloist: Hilde Rössel-Majdan)

  • 1959

    World premiere (March 15) of the 7th Symphony in Hamburg with the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt)

    Ludwig-Spohr-Prize of the city of Braunschweig; new version of the “Concerto funebre” in gratitude, its first performance takes place at the Braunschweig Festival of New Chamber Music on November 12 in the same year

Karl Amadeus and Elisabeth, united at the pianoPhoto: private property


  • 1960

    Performance of the 7th symphony at the IGNM festival in Cologne

  • 1961

    Art Prize of the City of Berlin

    Offer to become director of the Municipal Conservatory in Berlin (rejected)

    Schwabing Art Prize

  • 1962

    Honorary doctorate from the Spokane Conservatory, Washington (USA)

  • 1963

    World premiere (January 25) of the 8th Symphony in Cologne by the WDR Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Rafael Kubelik)

    Performances of the 8th Symphony at the Venice Biennale, the IGNM Festival in Amsterdam, the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt and at the Berliner Festwochen

    World premiere of the ballet “Triptychon” by Heinz Rosen after the 7th Symphony during the opening ceremony of the rebuilt National Theatre in Munich

One of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's last photographs (Munich, balcony of his house on Franz-Joseph-Straße)Photo: private property


December 5, 1963

  • On December 5 Karl Amadeus Hartmann dies from the consequences of cancer, he is buried in Munich’s Waldfriedhof; his home at Franz-Joseph-Straße 20 (Munich) in Schwabing is now the headquarters of the Karl Amadeus Hartmann Center

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