Carl Orff (Germany, 1895-1982)

Figure 1.--Orff's work has been very influential in modern music education. Here we see a French boy playing xylophone and learming about the sounds of percussions. He is simply dressed with a sweat shirt and tights which were seen as suitable for dance. .

Carl Orff was one of the most important German compsers in the 20th century. He is also noted for his work in music education. He was born in Bavaria during 1895. He came from a military family. He first studied music composition at the Akademie der Tonkunst Munich--Munich Academy of Music (1912-14). He served in the military during World War I. He also worked with Hermann Zilcher and Heinrich Kaminski. After the War he obtained musical positions at opera houses in Mannheim and Darmstadt. He also continued his musical education in Munich. He was appointed head of a department and co-founder of the Guenther School for gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich (1925). Here he worked with young children and began to develop theories on music education. He was the author of the famous "Carmina Burana" (1937) which was very popular in Germany when it appeared and continues to be popular in Germany today. The first performance of "Carmina Burana" was held up for a long time, and when performed was sharply critized by the party organisations. Productions in Dresden, Munich, and Berlin were cancelled, the Reichsmusikkammer declared that this that this "Bavarian Niggermusik" was not welcome. His work, however, was popular with the German public. He is perhaps even better known today for initiating a method of learning for small children based on rythm with percussions and xylophones and also on classical dance. This method was very popular in schools in Europe, mainly in Germany since 1924. It also spread to America. His ground breaking work on music education was Schulwerk (1930-35) meaning I think "School Work. When published in America the title was Music for Children. Orff created extremely simple musical instrumentation which permitted young childrenm to participate in music making. Orff saw value not only in the music itself, but also looked on music as an educational tool. Orff's theroies together with the work of Gunild Keetman became the basis of a new approach teaching children which became known as the Orff Schulwerk. A German reader writes, "Orff is still very popular in Germany, a lot of schools are named "Carl-Orff-Schule", a recent performance of the Carmina Burana here in Darmstadt (were I am living) by the choir and orchestra of the university was absolutely overcrowded, doubled number as usual of their concerts of attendants; many open air performances during summer time. I estimate also his other works, e.g. for Christmas. The "Schulwerk" is still one of the best introduction for kids doing music by themselves."


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Biography pages:
[Return to Main biography page]
[Biographies A-F] [Biographies G-L] [Biographies M-R] [Biographies S-Z]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to Main Music page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 11:15 PM 10/2/2005
Last updated: 11:15 PM 10/2/2005