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(Photo credit: Markus Konvalin/BR Klassik)

German Composer Franz Hummel has Died, Aged 83

The composer and pianist, best known for his musical “Ludwig II,” and recently passed away


Franz Hummel was born in 1939 and began his musical studies on the piano. From a young age, he met and was inspired by Richard Strauss, Eugen Papst, and Hans Knappertsbusch to pursue music as a career.

Hummel began composing at the age of six, and at 15, he had memorized all of Beethoven’s piano concertos. Studying composition and piano in Munich and Salzburg, he became an acclaimed virtuoso pianist, touring across Europe while making dozens of recordings in the classical, romantic, and contemporary genres.

“I've always had a liking for all kinds of musical genres,” Hummel once told BR Klassik. “But music with spirituality and with joie de vivre, no matter what genesis suits me and I’m always there.”

In 1975, Hummel began focusing solely on composition. His many operas, symphonies, ballets, concerti, and chamber works have since been performed many times in European concert halls and opera houses.

In the late 1990s, songwriter Stephan Barbarino brought Hummel on board to compose the music for a staged production about the life and death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

The result became Hummel’s best-known musical, “Ludwig II - Longing for Paradise,” which premiered in 2000 in the specially built Festspielhaus in Füssen theater. The theater was within sight of Neuschwanstein Castle, which was built for King Ludwig II in 1886 as a retreat and was inspired by sets for Wagner’s operas. 

“If something resonates, especially in Bavaria, then it would be Franz Hummel’s musical, ‘Ludwig II,’” stated BR Klassik. Since its premiere, the musical has been performed over 1,500 times to over a million people.

Our condolences to Mr. Hummel's family, friends, and colleagues.


A video from Germany’s Theater Regensburg on “Ludwig II,” for modern audiences can be watched below:

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