Who is Carl Dahlhaus?

Carl Dahlhaus studied musicology from 1947 to 1952 with Gurlitt in Freiburg and Gerber in Göttingen, where he also defended his doctorate in 1953 with an analytical dissertation on Josquin de Pre’s measurements. Rather than initiating an academic career, he entered theater and journalism worlds, becoming a literary advisor to the Deutsches Theater in Göttingen (1950-58), and an editor at Stuttgarter Zeitung (1960-62). At this time he gained a reputation as controversial critic and as an active supporter of the Darmstad school, with which he was associated early. In 1962 he started academic contact with the University of Kiel, where he completed the State Probation for a regular professor (Habilitation) in 1966 with a pioneering study of the origins of tonality. Later, he served briefly at Saarbrücken University staff before being appointed in 1967 to succeed Stuckenschmidt in the small department of musicology at the Technical University of Berlin. Over the next 20 years, he set up the department at an international level, attracting many students from around the world. Although with a chronic illness for most of his subsequent career, Dahlhaus worked with high intensity as a pedagogue, editor and administrator. He was a member of the Board of Supervisors of the German Music Council, president of Gesellschaft für Musikforschung (1977-79), co-creator of the German “Open University” (Funkkolleg), Editor-in-Chief of the Richard Wagner Collection (1970). inspirational and leading editor of the new edition of Musicon Hugo Riemann (1972-75), and many other encyclopaedic publications. However, the most remarkable was his uninterrupted series of successive editions in a wide range of topics that put him among the most fruitful and provocative writers in his field. By the mid-1980s, he was widely accepted as home and abroad as a leading figure in Germany’s intellectual life. In 1984, he entered the Pour le Mérite (a prize awarded in advance to Furtwängler and Richard Strauss) and a year later he was honored with the Grosses Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. At the time of his death from kidney failure he was writing a concise story of Western music, which would be his first book to be published live in English.


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