Wilhelm Pitz (born August 25, 1897 in Breinig in the Aachen district (today Stolberg (Rhld.) In the Aachen region ), † November 21, 1973 in Aachen ) was a German choir director . He was best known as the director of the Bayreuth Festival choir .
Pitz grew up in a musical family. His father was the head of the local choral society. Wilhelm Pitz first learned to play the violin from the Aachen concertmaster Fritz Dietrich, a student of Joseph Joachim .
Immediately after leaving school, Pitz became an Eleve in the Aachen City Orchestra , which was directed by Fritz Busch from 1912 to 1918 . A short time later, Pitz was one of the orchestra's first violinists.
During the First World War , Pitz joined a military band and also learned the trombone . After the war, Pitz became director of the Aachener Gesangverein and ten years later the choir director of the Aachener Stadttheater .
After Herbert von Karajan had become general music director in Aachen in 1935 , Pitz was given the post of “municipal choir director” at his suggestion and became known together with Herbert von Karajan.
After the Second World War , Pitz tried to revive the musical life of Aachen. He also took over the Cologne men's choir, which he directed until 1957.
In January 1951 he received a telegram from Karajan asking him to build “the world's best choir” for the reopening of the New Bayreuth Festival , which was now under the direction of Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner . Pitz accepted and tested the choir singers from 36 stages. After the first Bayreuth choir rehearsals, Wieland Wagner said: “Wilhelm Pitz is the greatest choir talent I have ever met. If everyone is as good as he is, I am not afraid that the festival will be a success. ”Pitz directed the festival choir from 1951 to 1973 and made a significant contribution to the famous“ Bayreuth choir sound miracle ”.
After Walter Legge had founded the Philharmonia Orchestra London as a record orchestra after the Second World War , he wanted to provide it with a choir of equal rank in the 1950s. For this reason he commissioned Wilhelm Pitz to select suitable singers. Since the founding of the Philharmonia Choir in 1957, the choir, consisting of up to 220 singers, has been involved in many recordings under the direction of Wilhelm Pitz.
In the meantime, in 1957, Pitz was part of the festival management of the 111th Lower Rhine Music Festival in Aachen, together with Wolfgang Sawallisch , Theodor Bernhard Rehmann , Rudolf Pohl and others . From 1962 Pitz also worked sometimes at the Vienna State Opera , where he conducted many choir rehearsals for Karajan and Karl Böhm . In addition, since 1963 Pitz has conducted his own performances in London, such as Britten's War Requiem or Handel's Messiah .
Due to a serious nervous illness, Pitz ended his activities in 1973 and retired to Aachen- Kornelimünster , where he died in November 1973. A memorial stone is now in front of the former school building.
Wilhelm Pitz was awarded the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany . Furthermore, on July 30, 1967, he received the “Golden Ring of Honor” from the city of Bayreuth .
The renowned Wilhelm Pitz Prize was named after Pitz, including Wolfgang Wagner , Josef Greindl , Astrid Varnay , Norbert Balatsch , Pitz's successor as director of the Festival Choir, Birgit Nilsson , Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau , Götz Friedrich , Hans Mayer , Pierre Boulez and Hans Hotter received.
- Home pages of the Aachen district; 39th year, 1983, issue 1–2.
- Alfred Beaujean: Choir Director Wilhelm Pitz - An appreciation of his musical work
- Franz J. Duisberg: Wilhelm Pitz and the village music of his hometown Breinig
- Wilhelm Kemp: Wilhelm Pitz. On the day of his seventy years , in: Program booklet of the Bayreuth Festival 1967, Tannhäuser, pp. 12-19.
- Rudolph Sabor: Wilhelm Pitz , in: Program booklet of the Bayreuth Festival 1967, Tannhäuser, pp. 19-20.
- Wilhelm Kemp: Wilhelm Pitz. On the day of his seventy years , in: Program booklet of the Bayreuth Festival 1967, Tannhäuser, p. 12 f.
- Rudolph Sabor: Wilhelm Pitz , in: Program booklet of the Bayreuth Festival 1967, Tannhäuser, p. 20.
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Choir director at the Bayreuth Festival|
|DATE OF BIRTH||August 25, 1897|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Breinig|
|DATE OF DEATH||November 21, 1973|
|Place of death||Aachen|