Siegfried Palm

Siegfried Palm ( born April 25, 1927 in Barmen, Wuppertal today; † 6 June 2005 in Frechen ) was a German cellist who became known particularly as an interpreter of contemporary music and inspired many composers to works. He has also worked as a lecturer, theater director and music functionary.


Siegfried Palm learned the cello game with nine years with his father, later he studied with Enrico Mainardi. After his studies Palm played as a solo cellist in various orchestras, so among other things in Lübeck, the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. The last job he held until 1968, after which he devoted himself exclusively to his teaching, and a solo career that took him to many festivals of contemporary music.

He was director of a master class for cello at the State since 1962.

Palm had in addition to playing the cello numerous other engagements and offices, he was a lecturer at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, 1976-1981 General Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He also served as president of the International Society for Contemporary Music ( ISCM ) ( 1982-1988 ), was president of the French Council for Culture and led master classes and workshops such as at the Carl Flesch Academy in Baden -Baden, at the Banff Centre for Continuing Education in Canada and at Dartmouth College in the United States. He was also a judge and jury chairman at international competitions.

Palm inspired composers to create new works for his instrument and wrote itself also textbooks such as studies to play new music. Palm has significant role in ensuring that the cello in contemporary music has become a major ( solo ) advanced instruments. Siegfried Palm played a cello from 1708, built by Giambattista Grancino in Milan. This instrument used to play Julius Klengel.

Recordings (selection)

Recordings of Siegfried Palm published by various record labels, including German Grammophon, EMI - Electrola, Philips and Teldec.

  • Great Artists New Music: Siegfried Palm, Wergo.
  • Intercomunicazione, DG.


The following composers have written new pieces for Palm, many of them dedicated to him: Dieter Acker, Sven -Erik Bäck; Boris Blacher; Hans Ulrich Engelmann; Morton Feldman; Johannes Fritsch ( SUL B); Cristobal Halffter; York Höller; Mauricio Kagel (match for two cellists and a drummer ); Milko Kelemen; Rolf Liebermann, György Ligeti ( Cello Concerto ); Tilo Medek; Krzysztof Penderecki ( Sonata for cello and orchestra); Robert HP Platz ( b. 1951 ); Aribert Reimann; Wolfgang Rihm; Giuseppe Sinopoli; Dimitri Terzakis; Graham Waterhouse (Three Pieces for Solo Cello ); Robert Wittinger (* 1945 ); Iannis Xenakis ( Nomos Alpha ); Isang Yun; Bernd Alois Zimmermann ( concert, Canto di Speranza, solo sonata ).

Positions, Memberships

  • Honorary President of ESTA ( European String Teachers Association )
  • President of the " International Youth Festival Meeting Bayreuth "
  • Honorary President of the GNM ( Society for New Music; German section in the ISCM )
  • Honorary member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
  • Honorary citizen of Marsciano / Italy (Provincia Perugia)
  • Honorary Professor at the Musikhochschule Lübeck
  • Member of the Academy of Liberal Arts Mannheim
  • Member of the teaching team at the Marlboro Festival ( USA)
  • Member of the Presidium of Academy ensemble
  • Chairman of the Trustees of the Foundation Sinfonima
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Max Reger Foundation

Prizes and awards

  • German Record Critics' Award in 1969 and 1976
  • Grand Prix du Disque International in 1972 and 1975
  • " Fournier Award of Distinction " Manchester
  • " Chevalier du cellos " Indiana University, Bloomington USA
  • Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Order of Merit of North Rhine -Westphalia
  • Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
  • Knight of the Ordre national du Mérite

Literature on Siegfried Palm

  • Michael Schmidt: Capriccio for Siegfried Palm. A conversation portrait. ConBrio, Regensburg 2005, ISBN 3-932581-71-7