Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

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Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1970)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (born May 28, 1925 in Berlin ; † May 18, 2012 in Berg ) was a German singer ( baritone ), conductor , painter , music writer and reciter . Fischer-Dieskau is one of the most important song and opera singers of the 20th century. With over 400 records, he is the singer whose interpretations most of the recordings should even exist on sound carriers.


His grandfather was the pastor and hymnologist Albert Fischer . The parents - the father a classical philologist, the mother a teacher - encouraged the son's talent by enabling him to study singing at the age of 16, first with Georg A. Walter , then from 1942 with Hermann Weißenborn at the Berlin Music Academy . His brother was the church musician Klaus Fischer-Dieskau .

Fischer-Dieskau was drafted into the Wehrmacht and fell into American captivity in Italy , during which he continued his vocal studies as an autodidact . He gave his first concerts in the American prison camp in Italy. After returning home from captivity , he made his debut in Brahms' German Requiem in 1947 at a performance in Badenweiler , after the originally planned baritone soloist was unable to perform due to illness.

Fischer-Dieskau's actual career began in January 1948, when he - still a student with Hermann Weissenborn - sang Schubert's Winterreise for the first time for RIAS . In the same year he was engaged at the Städtische Oper Berlin , where he played the Marquis Posa in Don Carlos and Wolfram in Tannhäuser . The following year the first record took place: Four serious chants by Brahms . In the same year he made guest appearances on the opera stages in Munich and Vienna . Another station was in 1951 the rendition of the songs of a traveling journeyman by Gustav Mahler at the Salzburg Festival under the direction of Wilhelm Furtwängler . In the same year Fischer-Dieskau made his festival debut in Edinburgh with the Brahms songs. In 1952 he went on tour in the USA for the first time, two years later he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Wolfram im Tannhäuser . On May 30, 1962, Fischer-Dieskau took part in the inauguration of the new Coventry Cathedral at the world premiere of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem . He sang alongside the British tenor Peter Pears . Fischer-Dieskau is also considered a patron of the music of the 20th century, for example by Hans Werner Henze and Aribert Reimann . Fischer-Dieskau's longstanding and most important song accompanist on the piano was Gerald Moore , with whom he recorded several times Schubert's song cycle Winterreise . He also gave many concerts with Wolfgang Sawallisch at the piano and recorded several records with him.

His main stations were then appearances at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Deutsche Oper Berlin , the Vienna State Opera , the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and at the Royal Opera House in London. His repertoire comprised around three thousand songs by around a hundred different composers.

Since 1983 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He had been a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin since 1956 , of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1984 and of the Free Academy of Arts in Hamburg since 1991 . On December 31, 1992, he ended his active career as a singer in Munich with a New Year's Eve gala, the last piece of which was the final fugue Tutto nel mondo è burla from Verdi's Falstaff .

Honorary grave at the Heerstrasse cemetery in Berlin-Westend

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died just ten days before his 87th birthday on May 18, 2012 in his house in Berg am Starnberger See (Himbselweg 16), where he had lived alternately with a villa in Berlin-Westend . The burial took place on May 25, 2012 in the closest family circle at the Heerstraße cemetery in Berlin-Westend. The final resting place of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is dedicated to the State of Berlin as an honorary grave . Since Fischer-Dieskau had been an honorary citizen of Berlin since 2000 , the dedication - in contrast to the large majority of Berlin's honorary graves - is not limited in time.


In 1949 Fischer-Dieskau married the cellist Irmgard Poppen for the first time . Three children come from this connection who are also artistically active: the set designer Mathias Fischer-Dieskau (* 1951), the conductor Martin Fischer-Dieskau (* 1954) and the cellist Manuel Fischer-Dieskau (* 1963). Irmgard Poppen died giving birth to their son Manuel. This was followed (1965-1967) by a marriage between Fischer-Dieskau and the actress Ruth Leuwerik , then a third marriage (1968-1975) with Kristina Pugell, the daughter of an American singing teacher. From 1977 until his death in 2012 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was married to the singer Julia Varady for the fourth time .

His heirs sold his house in Berlin, the Villa Buchthal in Westend (Lindenallee 22).


After his death, his colleague René Kollo praised Fischer-Dieskau as "vocally simply predestined for the song" and in essence as "very charming, very helpful, very friendly". Brigitte Fassbaender said that the singer was "a highly sensitive person of great spiritual clarity". “For everyone who worked with him, he was always to a great extent a role model. He was just a natural, great authority. "




  • On the trail of the Schubert songs. Becoming, essence, effect. Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1971, ISBN 3-7653-0244-9 .
  • Wagner and Nietzsche: the mystagogue and its apostate. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1974, ISBN 3-423-01429-6 .
  • Robert Schumann: Word and Music. The vocal work. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-421-06068-1 .
  • Aftertaste. Views and memories. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-421-06368-0 .
  • When music is food for love. The fate of artists in the 19th century. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-421-06571-3 .
  • Far away the Faun's lament. Claude Debussy and his world. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-421-06651-5 .
  • Schubert and his songs. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-421-05051-1 (paperback edition: Franz Schubert and his songs. Insel, Frankfurt 1999, ISBN 3-458-34219-2 ).
  • Carl Friedrich Zelter and the Berlin musical life of his time. A biography. Nicolai, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-87584-652-4 .
  • The world of song. Metzler, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-476-01638-2 .
  • Time of a lifetime. On the trail search. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-421-05368-5 .
  • Music in conversation. Forays through the classical period with Eleonore Büning. Propylaea, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-549-07178-7 .
  • Goethe as director. Theater passions in classical Weimar. dtv, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-423-24581-6 .
  • Johannes Brahms. Life and songs. List, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-548-60828-0 .
  • Jupiter and me. Encounters with Furtwängler. Berlin Univ. Press, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940432-66-7 .
  • The German piano song. Berlin University Press, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86280-021-6 .

As editor:

Audio samples


Web links

Commons : Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Marquis Who's Who in the World , 2004
  2. Nadine Zeller: Career began in Badenweiler. Fischer-Dieskau's debut . In: Badische Zeitung . May 25, 2012 (printed edition). Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  3. Le grand baryton allemand Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau est mort ; Obituary on of May 18, 2012; Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  4. ^ " Centenary ": Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is dead ; Obituary on from May 18, 2012; Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  5. Archive link ( Memento of the original from December 23, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Archive link ( Memento of the original dated December 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ Kai Luehrs-Kaiser : Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - death of a century-longing man. In: The world . May 18, 2012. Accessed November 9, 2019. Manuel Brug: The legacy of the greatest song singer of all time. In: The world . August 13, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was quietly buried in the forest cemetery. In: BZ May 30, 2012. Accessed November 9, 2019.
  9. Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection: Honorary Graves of the State of Berlin (as of November 2018) (PDF, 413 kB), p. 21. Accessed on November 9, 2019. Recognition and further preservation of graves as honorary graves of the State of Berlin (PDF , 205 kB). Berlin House of Representatives, printed matter 17/3105 of July 13, 2016, p. 2. Accessed on November 9, 2019.
  10. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - death of a century-old man ; Obituary. In: DIE WELT of May 18, 2012. Accessed July 1, 2017
  11. Exhibition cat. "A crystal, hidden in a new objectivity: the discovery and renovation of Haus Buchthal in Berlin", AEDES Gallery, Berlin 2016
  12. Anke Schäfer: “Vocally simply predestined for the song”: René Kollo on the death of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau ; Interview on Deutschlandradio Kultur, broadcast Conclusion on May 18, 2012.
  13. Ulrike Timm: “A clever intellectual who was not satisfied with the opera stage”: fellow singer Brigitte Fassbaender on the death of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau ; Interview on Deutschlandradio Kultur, Radiofeuilleton, May 18, 2012.
  14. ^ Inscription Deutschordenshof, Singerstraße: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 1963 (accessed June 10, 2014).
  15. Minor Planet Circ. 47303
  16. ^ Daniel Lewis: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, 1925–2012: Lyrical and Powerful Baritone, and the Master of the Art Song ; Obituary for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on on May 18, 2012; Retrieved May 18, 2012.