Katzer, Georg


Georg Katzer was born in Habelschwerdt on January 10, 1935. From 1954 to 1960, he studied at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (Academy for Music) under the direction of Rudolf Wagner-Régeny and Ruth Zechlin. From 1957 to 1958, he joined the Academy for Musical Art in Prague, under the direction of Karel Janáček. In 1961, he became a master-class student at the Deutsche Akademie der Künste (German Academy of Arts) in Berlin, where he studied under the composer Hanns Eisler. He finished his studies in 1963 and became an independent and prolific German composer.


Katzer was a resident artist at several international institutions. In 1976 and 1977, he was in residence as an electronic musician in Bratislava (Slovakia) and in Bourges (France), respectively. In 1982, he taught as a guest professor at Michigan State University. Katzer was also a special guest at the Villa Massimo in Roma (Italy) in 1992.


In 1978, Katzer became a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. There he founded the Studio for Electro-Acoustic Music in 1986, where he remained artistic director until 2005.


In addition to his musical compositions for various genres, radio plays and commissioned pieces, Katzer also wrote the film scores for several DEFA and television films. His first DEFA film score was written for Erwin Stranka’s 1963 feature film, Verliebt und vorbestraft. In 1965, two of his compositions for film faced the censorship of the Kahlschlag, the SED Party’s banning of twelve films made during or in production at that time: Wolfgang Kohlhaase and Gerhard Klein’s fourth Berlin film, Berlin um die Ecke; and Herrmann Zschoche’s Karla, a film about a young, idealistic teacher. Nevertheless, he continued composing music for film and television, such as Herrmann Zschoche’s Hälfte des Lebens, a tragic love story about the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin.


Katzer’s compositions include works for chamber ensembles, orchestral works, solo concertos, operas, ballets, puppet plays, and oratorios (Medea in Corinth based on Christa Wolf’s text). His work also encompasses electro-acoustical pieces, music for radio dramas, multimedia projects, and projects involving improvised music. He has done European tours with Johannes Bauer, Wolfgang Fuchs, Paul Lytten, Radu Malfatti, Phil Wachsman, Phil Minton, and Tony Oxley among others.


Georg Katzer has received numerous national and international prizes over the course of his career, and he is recognized as a pioneer in East German electronic music.

Festivals & Awards:

2012 German Award for Composition, Category: Experimental Music
2011 Deutsche Schallplatten Award
2003 Bundesverdienstkreuz (German Order of Merit)
1978 Reine Marie Jose Award
1976 Hanns Eisler Prize



1988 Melanios letzte Liebe (Melanios’s Last Love, TV)
1985 Hälfte des Lebens (Half of Life)
1982 Stella (TV)
1968 Leben zu Zweit (A Life Together)
1967 Geschichten jener Nacht (Stories of that Night)
1966/90 Berlin um die Ecke (Berlin Around the Corner)
1964 Engel im Fegefeuer (Angels in Purgatory)
1963 Lütt Matten und die weiße Muschel (Little Matten and the White Shell)
1963 Verliebt und vorbestraft (In Love and Previously Convicted)
1962 Josef und seine Brüder (Josef and His Brothers, TV)


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