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)|