Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remembering Walter Baumgartner

Walter Ernst Baumgartner was born on November 16, 1904 in Sevelen, Kanton St. Gallen, Switzerland. Baumgartner studied literature in Paris and later at the Zurich Conservatory with Volkmar Andreae theory of composition. As an athlete he represented Switzerland at the high school European Championships in Rome. Around 1934 he founded the Swing -Orchester "The Magnolians" which musicians like saxophonist Eddie Brunner belonged, and whom performed in Zurich Variety Shows and started recording 1937. His artistic influences were Swing composers such as Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman . He founded in 1935 the Music Academy Zurich a jazz department, which he headed until 1947.
During the Second World War he worked as a secondary school teacher in Zurich and during this time he arranged for pop singers like Vico Torriani , Lys Assia and the Schmid Kids.
In 1944, he started writing film scores for the intellectual defense documentary “Healing Switzerland”. Then he composed the music for about fifty other documentaries and promotional films for these scores, he often hired jazz musicians.
His film music to the sentimental “Grand Hotel Palace Hotel” made ​​him in 1952 one of Switzerland's most famous film composers. Baumgartner worked for several film companies, but had been particularly successful with his collaborations with producer Erwin C. Dietrich. The lexicon of film lists no less than 83 feature films that were scored from 1952 to 1990. Particularly noteworthy are his works for the films of Kurt Früh (between 1955-1972).
He composed swing music for cabaret programs, for Margrit Rainer, Ruedi Walter, Helen Vita and Harro Lang, where he also served as a pianist companion, the others such as Erich Kästner and Werner Want Berger. The list of his compositions and arrangements amount to over 700 entries; his musical legacy is in the Central Library Zurich.
Baumgartner spent many years as a board member of the Copyright Society SUISA active and sat down there especially for the retirement of the members.
Walter’s only Euro-western score was form “Nude Django” (1968).
Baumgartner died on October 3, 1997 in Zollikerberg, Switzerland.
Today we remember Walter Baumgartner on what would have been his 110th birthday.

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