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Siegfried Köhler

German conductor and composer Siegfried Köhler was born on 30 July 1923 in Freiburg im Breisgau, where he studied harp and then worked at Theater Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg as harpist and repetiteur.

From 1946 he conducted in Freiburg, from 1954 at Düsseldorf Opera and from 1957 at Cologne Opera, where he conducted the first stage performance of Das Vokaltuch der Kammersangerin Rosa Silber, a ballet by Hans Werner Henze.

From 1964 he was Generalmusikdirektor in Saarbrücken and professor of conducting at the Hochschule für Musik. From 1973 until 1988 he was Generalmusikdirektor at the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, where he conducted Auber's Die Stumme von Portici, Richard Wagner's Rienzi, and revived operas by Siegfried Wagner. He also gave first performances of operas by Volker David Kirchner, and began to conduct internationally during this period.

From 1989 he was chief conductor at the Royal Swedish Opera, where his repertoire was less eclectic, including  Mozart, Offenbach, Puccini, Richard Strauss, Rimsky-Korsakov, Suppé, Verdi and Wagner.

Köhler also broadcast and made commercial recordings.

His own music includes a Humoreske for harp, lieder, orchestral music, musicals and an operetta, Alles Capriolen, which he also used as the title for his 2003 autobiography.

Siegfried Köhler died in Wiesbaden on 12 September 2017, aged ninety-four.

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