Natschinski, Gerd


Gerd Natschinski was born in Chemnitz on August 23, 1928 and grew up in Dresden. Shortly before the end of WWII, at the age of 16, he was drafted into the army.


Already at a young age, Natschinski was passionate about composing music and writing plays. After the war, from 1945 to 1946, he studied conducting at the Musikhochschule in Dresden; but he had to take on a teaching and a cantor position to earn a living and could not finish his degree. Before he moved to Leipzig and became the head of the Leipzig Radio Station’s house orchestra—where he composed pieces for the orchestra and conducted his own works—Natschinski took private lessons in music theory, composition and piano in Chemnitz from 1946 to 1948. Parallel to his busy work schedule, he studied with Hanns Eisler from 1950 to 1952. In 1952, Natschinksi became the musical director of the Berlin Radio Station’s orchestra.


In the early 1950s, Natschinski began writing scores for short documentaries and for satirical shorts in theStacheltierseries at the DEFA Studios. During his almost thirty-year career in film, he worked on over 50 DEFA titles and collaborated with many renowned genre film experts, for whom he composed scores for entertaining comedies, crime stories and musicals. He scored his first feature film Wer seine Frau lieb hat, a DEFA production directed by Kurt Jung-Alsen, in 1954. In the following years, the two worked together on many other films for cinema and television. Natschinski’s name was credited to countless successful film musicals, including Gottfried Kolditz’s Revue um Mitternachtand Joachim Hasler’s box-office hit Heisser Sommer; East German pop music stars, such as Manfred Krug, Chris Doerk and Frank Schöbel, interpreted his songs in films.


Starting in the early 1960s, Natschinski became known for his musicals on stage, including Messeschlager Gisela (1960, Gisela, the Hit of the Fair) and Mein Freund Bunbury (1964, My Friend Bunbury). The latter, based on Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, became one of Natschinski’s most successful musicals and has been translated into several languages and staged over 150 times; it premiered at the Berlin Metropol Theater, which Natschinski directed from 1977 to 1980. Natschinski also wrote in other genres, including: compositions for orchestra and ballet; children’s songs that were popular with East German kids, and songs for East German pop singers of the 1960s and ‘70s, including Bärbel Wacholz, Fred Frohberg, Regina Thoss and Dagmar Frederic.


Gerd Natschinski—a master of East German popular music whom critics called the Andrew Lloyd Webber of the East—died on August 4, 2015.


1979 Komödianten-Emil (Emil, the Comedian
1977 Hiev Up (Heave Ho!)
1971 Der Mann, der nach der Oma kam (The Man who Replaced Grandma)
1967 Ein Lord am Alexanderplatz (The Lord of Alexanderplatz
1967 Heisser Sommer (Hot Summer
1964 Chronik eines Mordes (Chronicle of a Murder
1964 Das Mädchen aus dem Dschungel (The Girl from the Jungle, TV) 
1962 Jean Baras grosse Chance (Jean Baras’s Big Chance, TV) 
1962 Revue um Mitternacht (Midnight Revue)
1961 Der Mann mit dem Objektiv (The Man with the Magic Lens
1959 Weisses Blut (White Blood
1958 Meine Frau macht Musik (My Wife Makes Music
1957 Mazurka der Liebe (Love’s Mazurka
1957 Tanz in der Galerie (Dance at the Gallery, short) 
1956 Alter Kahn und junge Liebe (Old Barge, Young Love
1955 Drei Mädchen im Endspiel (Three Girls in the Final
1954-58 Das Stacheltier (The Porcupine, series, shorts)
1954 Carola Lamberti – Eine vom Zirkus (Carola Lamberti)
1954 Wer seine Frau lieb hat (He Who Loves His Wife
1952 Blaue Wimpel im Sommerwind (Blue Bandanas in the Summer Wind, short, doc)
1951 Tierkinder (Animal Children, short, doc)


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