Paul Lange (musician)

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Paul Lange (born October 12, 1857 in Kartzow near Potsdam , † December 2, 1919 in Üsküdar ) was a pioneer of classical music life in Istanbul from 1880 to 1910 and from 1908 court conductor of the last Ottoman sultans Abdul Hamid II , Mehmed V. and Mehmed VI.


Lange came from an old Prussian family of teachers. Following the family tradition, he completed a teaching degree at the teachers' college in Neuruppin , which he graduated with honors in 1879. Due to his intense interest in music, he completed training as an organist at the Academic Institute for Church Music in Berlin .

In 1880, Lange took up a position as a singing teacher at the German School and organist at the Imperial German Embassy Chapel in Istanbul . He soon began to set up other choirs at numerous high schools in the city, as well as Greek , Armenian and the two American colleges . He founded a symphony orchestra with which he performed works by Beethoven and Wagner in Istanbul, among others . For a long time, numerous children and young people from “better circles” of Constantinople taught the piano and even founded a private conservatory in the 1890s , which, however, went bankrupt after two years .

Through the intercession of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Lange was initially appointed inspector of the Imperial Naval Music in the rank of Turkish lieutenant colonel from 1898, later he was appointed director of further military music ensembles and in 1908 he was finally court conductor of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Although the Young Turks wanted to depose him in 1909 , he kept under the following sultans Mehmet V. and VI. his position.

Even after the capitulation in November 1918 and the deportation of most of the Germans, he was allowed to stay in Istanbul for a long time, where he lived in a house in Kuzguncuk (Üsküdar, then Skutari) on the Asian side of the Bosporus, together with his wife and youngest daughter Isolde. However, he died in December 1919. Although he was buried with a kind of state funeral (in the Protestant cemetery in Ferikoy) with great pomp and all the honorary testimonies of the Ottoman court, his widow and youngest daughter received the deportation order in May 1920.

A son Hans later worked as Arturo Toscanini's assistant in the USA and was himself a well-known conductor. Paul Lange was personally friends with the German philologist Friedrich Schrader, who also worked at American colleges in the 1890s .


  • Emre Araci: Paul Lange Bey : in: Daheim in Konstantinopel, Pagma Verlag, Nuremberg, 2014, ISBN 978-3-9810758-5-4 , pp. 165-184 (article in German and Turkish)
  • Halid Recep Arman: Bahriye Muzikaları Tarihi = History of Turkish Naval Bands İstanbul: Deniz, 1958 "
  • Pars Tuğlacı : Mehterhane'den Bando'ya = Turkish Bands of Past and Present. Istanbul, Cem 1986, pp. 47-64; 116-240.
  • John Freely : A history of Robert College , 2 volumes, Istanbul: YKY, 2000, ISBN 978-975-08-0238-6 (mentions Paul Lange as a lecturer at the American College for Girls)
  • Schlegel, Dietrich: Paul Lange Bey - A German Musician in the Ottoman Empire, Communications of the German-Turkish Society, 115 (12/1992), pp. 36–47 Link
  • Bispo, AA "Alemães na vida musical do Império Osmano ea emigração de" alemães do Bósporo "ao Novo Mundo: Paul Lange (1857–1919), Hans Lange (1884–1960) e Guiomar Novaes (1895–1979)". Revista Brasil-Europa: Correspondência Euro-Brasileira 144/15 (2013: 4). (Link)