Kowalski, Max (1882-1956)


*1882 Kowal, Russia (now Poland) - †1956 London

Max Kowalski was only one year old when he came to Germany with his parents. He took his school leaving examination at the Lessing Gymnasium in Frankfurt. After completing his law degree and receiving a doctorate, he opened an office in the city. Until 1938, he was regarded as an authority on copyright law. Max Kowalski studied singing and composition under Bernhard Sekles, amongst others, at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt. In 1913, four song cycles were published by Simrock, among them his best-known work, Zwölf Gedichte aus Pierrot Lunaire Op. 4 (Albert Giraud). Before 1933, he composed 17 song cycles, which were published by music publishers, such as Eos, Leuckart, Raabe & Plotho and Universal Edition. From 1933 onwards, his compositions were banned.

He was arrested in 1938 and imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Released on condition that he leave Germany, he emigrated to London in 1939, where he worked as a composer and singing teacher until his death.

Further information in the Dictionary of Persecuted Musicians 1933-1945 at http://www.lexm.uni-hamburg.de and Frankfurt am Main 1933-1945: http://www.ffmhist.de/ffm33-45/portal01/portal01.php

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