franz lehrndorfer (1928-2013)

Franz Lehrndorfer was born on August 10, 1928, in Salzburg, Austria, of German parents. He grew up in Kempten, Bavaria, and received his early musical training from his father, a choir conductor and musicologist.

After his graduation from the German gymnasium ("Abitur"), he studied Catholic church music and organ from 1948-1951 at the State Music College in Munich. He graduated in 1952 "summa cum laude".

He had begun his professional life already during the previous year as an educator with the German boys choir Regensburger Domspatzen. This is when he met his future producer/engineer Ulrich Kraus who was one of the choir's singers at the time. Their friendship and collaboration has thus endured half a century.

In 1962 Lehrndorfer joined the faculty of the State Music College in Munich where he became department head of Catholic church music and organ in 1969 until his retirement in 1993.

Since 1968 he taught as visiting professor at the Catholic University in Porto, Portugal. Since 1969 he has also been the dome organist at the Munich dome ("Frauenkirche").

In 1957 Lehrndorfer won first place at the International Music Competition of the ARD (German Radio Network). In recognition of his achievements as artist and educator he has received numerous awards and decorations from both government and religious institutions, among them an honorary doctorate of the Papal College of Music in Rome and the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse, a highly prestigious decoration awarded by the German government.

Whilst Lehrndorfer has been known for his many song and choir compositions as well as compositions and arrangements for organ, it is his special gift as an improviser which completes his musical profile.

Celestial Harmonies has documented his creativity by recording and reissuing all relevant aspects of his repertoire which reaches from Early Music to the 20th century. His musicianship is equally suited to romantic organ music from 19th century France as it is to Bach or improvisations over themes from children's and folk songs.

Franz Lehrndorfer verbrachte seine Jugendzeit in Kempten und erhielt die musikalische Grundausbildung bei seinem Vater, einem Chordirektor und Musikwissenschaftler. Nach dem Abitur studierte er 1948-1951 an der Hochschule für Musik in München Katholische Kirchenmusik und Orgel und schloß diese Ausbildung 1952 "mit besonderer Auszeichnung" sowie dem Meisterklassendiplom im Fach Orgel ab. Seine berufliche Tätigkeit begann er bereits ein Jahr vorher als Musikpädagoge bei den Regensburger Domspatzen, wurde 1962 an die Hochschule für Musik nach München berufen, wo er von 1969 bis zu seiner Emeritierung 1993 die Abteilung für Katholische Kirchenmusik und Orgel leitete. Seit 1969 wirkt er zugleich als Domorganist in München und seit 1998 als Gastprofessor an der Katholischen Universität in Porto (Portugal).

Beim Internationalen Musikwettbewerb der ARD gewann Lehrndorfer 1957 den ersten Preis. In Anerkennung seiner Erfolge als Künstler und Musikpädagoge erhielt er eine Reihe von Auszeichnungen und Ehrungen von staatlicher und kirchlicher Seite, u.a. die Ehrendoktorwürde der Päpstlichen Hochschule für Musik in Rom und das Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse.

Lied- und Chorsätze sowie Bearbeitungen und Kompositionen für die Orgel ergänzen sein künstlerisches Schaffen.

discography

franz lehrndorfer obituary