Name ten Hamburg composers

Name ten Hamburg composers


norman lebrecht

July 04, 2014

The city of Hamburg is so excited by the tercentenary of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach that it is building a museum courtyard for all the composers that ever lived within its hospitable society.

1 Johannes Brahms has a museum all to himself.

2 CPE Bach we’ve mentioned.

So who else?

3 Telemann

4 Hasse

5 Mahler (1891-97)

er…. and ….?

hamburg museum composers

6 Ligeti lived there in the 1990s. So did

7 Alfred Schnittke.

That leaves….

Keep thinking.


All right, one more:

8 Detlev Glanert, composer of ultraviolent operas, was born in Hamburg, September 1960 (h/t: Karen Kamensek).


Here goes:

9 Sofia Gubaidulina (still living there)

10 Felix Mendelssohn,

11 Fanny Mendelssohn, both born there

12 Paul Dessau

13 Bertold Goldschmidt

Yep, I think we made ten,



  • Cynthia says:


  • Michael Endres says:

    Reinhard Keiser( 1674-1739 )
    Paul Dessau ( 1894-1979 )

  • David Pickett says:

    Klemperer? 🙂

  • Not to forget 18C Joachim Alzheimer, the author of 92 concerti grossi which fell into profound oblivion.

  • Baron says:

    Handel wrote there briefly alongside Keiser.

    Johann Mattheson as well.

  • Gary Carpenter says:

    Lennon and McCartney.

  • Aleksey Igudesman says:

    I’ve had pieces of mine performed, stayed in some nice hotels and had numerous hamburgers in Hamburg. Does that count? 😉

    • It seems it should.

      Let’s not forget that John F. Kennedy’s historic visit to Berlin in the sixties (‘I am a Berliner’) was supposed to be combined with a comparable visit to Hamburg, but which was cancelled after staff decided to prevent JFK uttering something similar in the other city, with rather akward consequences.

  • Dan says:

    I have That Happy Feeling it’s Bert Kaempfert

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Johann Mattheson 1681-1764

  • Brian says:

    Suggestion for a similar game: conductors born in 1927. Great musical vintage!

  • Rob van der Hilst says:

    And what about both Schützpupils Matthias Weckmann and Christoph Bernhard, the Sweelinckpupils Heinrich Scheidemann, Jacob Praetorius (II) and other Hamburgian masters, the Dutch-born organvirtuoso (and inspiring model for the young J.S.Bach as well as friend and collegue of Dieterich Buxtehude) Johann Adam Reincken et cetera cetera.
    Gosh, what a music-historical richness!

  • And at present, there lives a very interesting (German) composer in Hamburg, who has developed an unique vision for contemporary music in the 21st century: Wolfgang Andreas Schultz, pupil of the late Ligeti and curently teaching at the Hochschule. In Germany, where contemporary music is still laboring under the moralistic obligation of postwar modernism (‘a modernist German is a good German’), Schultz came-up with a very different vision, fed by depth psychology and an evolutionary theory of consciousness, and inspired by both Western and Eastern traditional music plus the 20C avantgardes.

    There seems to be something musically healthy in the air at Germany’s north-west coast.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Is that Peterstrasse? Lovely corner of the city.

  • Delbert Grady says:

    Sofia Gubaidulina has lived there since 1992.