Kurt Sanderling

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Kurt Sanderling and Erich Honecker during the 750th anniversary of Berlin (1987)

Kurt Sanderling (born September 19, 1912 in Arys , Johannisburg district , East Prussia ; † September 18, 2011 in Berlin ) was a German conductor .


Berlin memorial plaque on the house, Am Iderfenngraben 47, in Berlin-Niederschönhausen

In 1931 Sanderling worked as a répétiteur at the Städtische Oper in Berlin-Charlottenburg . After the NSDAP won the Reichstag elections in March 1933 , he worked for the Jewish Cultural Association in 1933 . Because he was expatriated as a Jew in 1935 , he had to emigrate to his uncle in Moscow in 1936 . Here he became a répétiteur and later a conductor for the Moscow Radio . He made his debut in 1937 with Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio . From 1940 to 1942 he was chief conductor of the Kharkov Philharmonic in Ukraine. After a guest performance with the Leningrad Philharmonic , he became the second chief conductor of this orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky . He held this office from 1942 to 1960.

After returning to East Berlin , Sanderling was the chief conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra from 1960 to 1977 . At the same time he directed the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden from 1964 to 1967 . From 1994 to 1998 he was a member of the board of trustees of the Berliner Schauspielhaus .

Along with Günter Wand (1912–2002), Sanderling was the last direct descendant of the German Romantic School; he had no conducting lessons. Anyone can learn to beat the clock in a few hours; he doesn't need a degree for that. The best school is still practice, not theory.

As a conductor, Sanderling was committed to the works of Gustav Mahler , Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich , with whom he maintained a close friendship until his death in 1975. Sanderling was also known as an interpreter of the works of Jean Sibelius . He also brought u. a. Works by Günter Kochan for the world premiere.

Most of Sanderling's family members are also musicians: his son Thomas Sanderling , from his first marriage to Nina Schey, is a conductor. Since 1963 Sanderling was married to the double bass player Barbara Sanderling for the second time. His sons from this marriage are the conductor Stefan Sanderling and the cellist and conductor Michael Sanderling .

Kurt Sanderling died the day before his 99th birthday. He was buried in the Pankow III cemetery.

On September 23, 2016 , a Berlin memorial plaque was unveiled at his former place of residence, Berlin-Niederschönhausen , Am Iderfenngraben 47 .


“You see, in 1941, I was 29 years old and became the conductor of one of the most important orchestras in the Soviet Union, the Leningrad Philharmonic. That's an incredible stroke of luck. "

- Kurt Sanderling, 2007




  • His love for Brahms. Kurt Sanderling teaches the 4th symphony . (With the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra of the SWR) Documentation, 60 min., A film by Norbert Beilharz , first broadcast: November 2, 2003, summary of the SWR
  • The conductor Kurt Sanderling. A traveler through a century. Portrait, Germany, 2012, 43 min., Script and direction: Elke Sasse, production: sounding images, rbb , first broadcast: September 18, 2012 in rbb, summary by rbb.


Web links

Commons : Kurt Sanderling  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Sanderling . In: Brockhaus: Music. Mannheim / Leipzig 2006, Lemma
  2. Jörg Rothkamm: Kurt Sanderling in the Lexicon of Persecuted Musicians of the Nazi Era  (LexM), as of December 12, 2018
  3. John Fleming: Sanderling to conduct his family. In: St. Petersburg Times. March 4, 2005, archived from the original on October 29, 2005 ; Retrieved July 1, 2012 .
  4. Jan Brachmann: My fate was gracious. In: Berliner Zeitung . September 22, 2007 .;