Unterschrift Carl Orff


»It was my aim to make myself acquainted with everything a dramatist should know.«[1]

(Carl Orff during a rehearsal of the ›Lukas-Passion‹, Berlin 1932)
(Carl Orff during a rehearsal in Berlin 1932)


To improve his performance on the piano, Orff began private lessons with Hermann Zilcher in 1915 who – following Orff’s brief period of employment at the Court Opera House in Munich - was able to procure him a post as musical director of the Munich Chamber Theatre (1916/17).

Inspired by the sensational productions by Otto Falckenberg, Orff produced the first draft of his music for Shakespeare’s ›A Midsummer Night’s Dream‹.

Having been called up for military service in 1917, he subsequently became trapped in a shelter on the Eastern Front. Following a long period of convalescence, he was employed as musical director at the National Theatre in Mannheim and the Court Theatre in Darmstadt. The few compositions to have survived from this period are perceptibly influenced by the style of Richard Strauss.


» One day Zilcher rang me to ask if I would like to step in for him (at the Munich Chamber Theatre)[...]and conduct his music for ›Wie es Euch gefällt‹ [›As You Like It‹] It was the first time I had ever conducted in the theatre[...]. I was immediately appointed as capellmeister.«[1] »I spent day and night at the theatre, led rehearsals with piano and orchestra, prompted, helped with the lighting and if necessary even lent a hand with scene shifting.«[1] (Carl Orff 1917)
»There was so much for me to do both back- and front-stage.«[2] » Nevertheless, I turned my back on the career of an opera capellmeister and left [...] to return to new studies, new experiments, new hopes and ventures in Munich.«[3] (Carl Orff during a rehearsal of the ›Lukas-Passion‹, Berlin 1932)


[1] CO-Dok I,60; [2] CO-Dok I,62; [3] CO-Dok I,64
Abb.: OZM

Academy of Music Munich

Study of the old masters