Shock death of star percussionist, 54

Shock death of star percussionist, 54


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2016

Friends are sharing word of the death of Peter Sadlo, one of the most successful percussion virtuosi.

He died of complications following a surgical operation.

Spotted when he was 20 by Sergiu Celibidache, Peter became principal timpanist of the Munich Philharmonic in 1982 and professor of percussion at the city’s music academy.

He added the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1990 and from there developed a major solo career. He could play everything, from Bach to bloues.

Last year, he was awarded the Frankfurt Music Prize.

Our sympathies to his family.

peter sadlo



  • Alexander says:

    Still shocked about the news of the sudden death of Peter whom I know for about 35 years as a friend and collegue, I like to add some information. He was principal Timpanist at the Munich Philharmonic and not percussionist. He won the 1st prize in the ARD-competition in 1982.
    His spirit and enthusiasm, his work to educate and support his students will never be forgotten. We lost one of our Greates much too early.

  • Lucas says:

    Sad news, again…

    You will all have seen it already – but here he is with Bruckner 8 and Celi.
    (e.g. 1:37:10)

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Wow, what shock! My favorite percussionist, bar none.

    One small correction: Peter continued to be part of the Munich Philharmonic until Celibidache’s death (the wording “switched to implies that he left Munich, which is not true; he may have held the two positions in parallel):

    May he rest in peace.

  • Moritz Eggert says:

    We have been informed that there were unexpected complications during a kidney surgery. This is a terrible shock – Peter was an amazing musician and a wonderful friend. His legacy is already incredible but he would have deserved many more years to live life to the fullest. I am devastated.

  • Oliver Schwarz says:

    Lieber Peter!
    Zahllose Erinnerungen an zahllose Deiner Schläge, Impulse, Marksteine. Nichts reicht an Deinen Focus in den großen Bruckner Finali heran. Ewig unvergessen – dauerhaft präsent in unserem musikalischem Gedächtnis. Grüße bitte Celi von uns. Wir vermissen Euch. O&H

  • Michael Fischer says:

    Peter Sadlo did not survive surgery in a Munich hospital.

  • Guido Rückel says:

    Peter Sadlo had a sucessful surgery, but one day after he got serious complications.
    By the way: he was principal TIMPANI player at the munich philharmonic…
    …and he hold both positions as a professor in Munich and Salzburg at the same time!

  • Alastair says:

    I just heard of Peter’s Passing today. I am in shock at this news and am deeply saddened at this news. I studied with Peter in Munich in the late 1980’s. I remember the time so well; I was a green student out of the UK and Peter kind of took me under his wing. I spent quite a lot happy hours at Munich Philharmonic rehearsals observing Peter at work then going to concerts and sitting behind him in the orchestra after which Peter and I would adjourn for Beers and Spare Ribs and talk Timps and percussion. My time in Munich and studying with Peter made me as a musician. The music world has had a great loss with this. My heartfelt condolences go to his family.