Michael Kunze

Michael Kunze ( born November 9, 1943 in Prague ) is a German lyricist, writer and librettist.

Michael Kunze wrote the texts of numerous German and international pop hits and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime and ECHO Awards, the GEMA Grammy and Golden - 79 and platinum records. He is the author of several books and developed a series of television shows. He also translated the song lyrics of many English-language musicals into German.

Since the early 1990s Kunze is best known as author of the musical Elisabeth ( 1992), Dance of the Vampires (1996 ), Mozart! (1999), Rebecca (2006 ), Marie Antoinette (2006) and Moses - The 10 Commandments (2013 ) in many European countries and in Japan and South Korea known.

Childhood, youth and study

Michael Kunze was the son of Dita Roesler (actress ) and Walter Kunze (journalist, cartoonist ) was born in Prague, but spent his childhood and elementary school on the edge of the Black Forest near Freiburg in Breisgau.

In 1954 the family moved to Stuttgart and 1959 from there to Munich. In Stuttgart he attended the Schickhardt -Gymnasium in Munich and the Klenze Oberrealschule. A fellow of the Maximilianeum Foundation, he studied law, philosophy and history at the Ludwig- Maximilians- University of Munich. He received his doctorate in law on witch trials in the 16th century.

Already during his studies Kunze began writing songs. Some of his early works appeared on an LP of the Hamburg City Preachers folk group. However, although this production was not a commercial success, it earned him the first recognition of the German music industry.

Early Works ( pop )

Together with his wife Roswitha discovered Michael Kunze 17- year-old folk singer Peter Maffay. His first record you conquered in 1970, the number 1 on the German Hitranglisten and was awarded a gold record.

In the following years he wrote and produced songs for Daliah Lavi, Michael Schanze, Marion Maerz, Caterina Valente, Lulu, Mary Roos, Juliane Werding ( night full of shadows, 1983, on the Wind, 1985; The dice game, 1986), Münchner Freiheit ( Without you I sleep tonight not night one ), Ivan Rebroff (taiga dreams, 1983), Peter Alexander ( The small pub ), Jürgen Drews ( a bed in a cornfield ), Udo Jürgens ( Greek wine, 1974 a worthy house, The heck was the brandy, I 've never been to New York, 11:55, 1982), Penny McLean (Lady Bump ) and many others.

There were also international productions with Gitte Hænning, Herbie Mann, Julio Iglesias, Nana Mouskouri, Gilbert Becaud and Sister Sledge. Here he used at times the pseudonym " Stephan Prager " (in reference to his son Stephen and his native city of Prague).

With the original fantasy group Silver Convention and their album Save Me, or of the out-coupled single Fly, Robin, Fly Kunze reached number 1 on the Billboard and Cashbox charts.

At the height of his success, he withdrew from the pop music from time to time back to write books. His work on the fire road was a worldwide bestseller, which the New York Times devoted three pages in its literary supplement.

Later works (Music Theatre)


In the 1980s, Kunze rediscovered his old love for the theater. His collaboration with Harold Prince at the German Ūbersetzung of the musical Evita was not only the beginning of a long friendship with legendary Broadway producers, but it also opened the door to a series of successful adaptations of famous Broadway musicals for the German stage.

His translations of the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber ( Song and Dance, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard ) and especially by Stephen Sondheim ( Company, Into the Woods ), made ​​him among the growing number of friends this known genres. Also from his mind are the German versions of Wicked, A Chorus Line, Little Shop of Horrors, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Aida ( Elton John ).


Since the early 1990s, Michael Kunze writes his own musicals. He calls Drama Musicals, because all dramaturgical elements of the narration of the story serve.

With his friend Sylvester Levay he created in 1990 witches witches and 1992, the musical Elisabeth, which was played over four years en suite at the Theater an der Wien. This was followed by Dance of the Vampires (in collaboration with Roman Polanski, music by Jim Steinman ) at Vienna's Raimund Theatre and Mozart! - The Musical, at the Theater an der Wien.

The Musical Rebecca ( ​​from the novel by Daphne du Maurier ) celebrated its premiere in October 2006 at Vienna's Raimund Theater. A Broadway premiere will follow in 2013. In Japan, had on 2 November 2006 his new musical Marie Antoinette ( Music: Sylvester Levay ) Premiere, which was to be seen between January and May 2009, in Germany in Bremen Musical Theatre. The director was in both cases, the internationally renowned opera director Tamiya Kuriyama, chief of the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Other works

Michael Kunze wrote intercom Plays ( Lenya premiere Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau in 2002, Alexandra - premiere Schlossparktheater Berlin, 2011 ), the German version of the musical Dracula (Music: Karel Svoboda ), an American Opera ( Raoul, Music: Gershon Kingsley, first performance on 21 February 2008 at the Theater Bremen ), most of the lyrics for Udo Jürgens musical I 've never been to New York, as well as the pop oratorio the 10 Commandments (2009; Music: Dieter Falk ), and based thereon Musical Moses - the 10. bids (premiered 2013 St. Gallen).

Michael Kunze lives with his wife Roswitha in Hamburg.