A master from Bavaria – Carl Orff

Carl Orff (1895-1982) was born into an Upper Bavarian family in Munich. Carmina Burana is the work that made him famous and its scenic choruses, which echo medieval music, have often been used in film music, pop and rock.

Munich was his city. Carl Orff attended the Wittelsbach Grammar School and the then Royal Academy of Music before becoming kapellmeister at the Kammerspiele theatre. There is a memorial plaque on the house on Maillinger Strasse where he was born and lived until 1939, and a concert hall at the Gasteig arts centre bears his name.

Orff's most famous work Carmina Burana, which was premiered in Frankfurt in 1937, is a setting of texts from a medieval manuscript that was discovered and edited in the 19th century. It was named after Benediktbeuern Abbey where the text was found (literally: songs of Beuern). Carl Orff was also a very distinguished music teacher (the Orff approach).

In 1955 Orff moved to Diessen am Ammersee, a lakeside resort where he had spent his holidays as a child and where the Carl Orff Museum opened in 1991. The composer is buried at nearby Andechs Abbey, where the annual Carl Orff Festival and the Orff Academy keep his memory alive.

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