Karl Hermann Pillney

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Karl Hermann Pillney (born April 8, 1896 in Graz ( Austria ), † April 10, 1980 in Bergisch Gladbach - Bensberg ) was an Austrian concert pianist .


Karl Hermann Pillney, son of a harpist and chamber musician, attended high school . After graduating from high school in 1915, he went to the Conservatory in Cologne , where he studied with Hermann Abendroth , among others . In 1923 he received his diploma as a concert pianist.

He went on concert tours in Europe and overseas. In 1925 he was appointed to the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne. Since 1927 Pillney was married to Elisabeth Feldmann, with whom he had two children. From 1930 he was a concert pianist, head of a master class for piano playing and from 1940 professor at the State University of Music in Cologne .

In November 1931 he was attacked by the Nazi press for his musical time game from Friday to Thursday . After the " seizure of power " by the National Socialists , Pillney was accepted as a member of the NSDAP on April 1, 1933 and registered under the number 1,785,769, although from 1934 to 1937 it was deleted again.

In the post-war period he remained a university lecturer until 1951, but then worked as a freelance composer.

He saw the processing and editing of early music, especially Johann Sebastian Bach and other composers, as his task.

Pillney's most successful work as a composer is the variation cycle for piano and orchestra Escapades of a popular hit from 1968, in which he varies the hit "What are you doing with your knee, dear Hans" in various classical styles.


  • Arrangement of the Bach Variations by Max Reger for piano and orchestra (first performed in Cologne 1924)
  • Adaptation of JS Bach's Musical Offering
  • Christ , motet 1928
  • From Friday to Thursday , one-act opera 1931
  • Music for piano and orchestra , 1932
  • Completion of the final fugue of JS Bach's Art of Fugue
  • Cadenza ( Fugato ) to the last movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor
  • The antics of a street hit , 1968



  • Ingrid Marie-Theres Knierbein, Karl Hermann Pillney: harpsichordist, pianist, composer from Bensberg; on his 100th birthday on April 8, 1996 , in: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rheinische Musikgeschichte Mitteilungen 83 (1996) pp. 36–40
  • Reinhold Wecker, Karl Hermann Pillney. Artist, composer and teacher , contributions to the history of music in the Rhineland, Vol. 162, Merseburger: Kassel 2002

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c d Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933–1945 , CD-Rom-Lexikon, Kiel 2004, p. 5279.
  2. Information from the music publisher Boosey & Hawkes