Fritz Stein

Fritz Stein
Born Friedrich Wilhelm Stein
(1879-12-17)17 December 1879
Gerlachsheim, Germany
Died 14 November 1961(1961-11-14) (aged 81)
Berlin, West Germany
Education Heidelberg University
  • Theologian
  • Conductor
  • Musicologist
  • Church musician
  • Teacher

Friedrich Wilhelm Stein (17 December 1879 – 14 November 1961) was a German theologian, conductor, musicologist and church musician. He found in an archive in Jena the score of the so-called Jena Symphony, which he published as possibly a work by the young Ludwig van Beethoven. After a long period in Kiel from 1919 to 1933, teaching at the Kiel University and as Generalmusikdirektor, he had a leading position in the Reichsmusikkammer of the Nazis in Berlin.


Born Friedrich Wilhelm Stein[1] in Gerlachsheim,[2][1] Stein first studied theology in Heidelberg and Berlin. He graduated with the Staatsexamen in Karlsruhe in 1902.[3] He then studied with Philipp Wolfrum who, being both a conductor and conductor, became a model for his own work.[2] Stein played organ concerts, but still studied music and musicology with Arthur Nikisch and Hans Sitt at the Leipzig Conservatory until 1906.[2][4] In Leipzig he had close contact with Max Reger and Karl Straube.[2]

Stein worked in Jena from 1906 as an organist for the town and the university. He found in an archive in Jena the orchestral parts of the so-called Jena Symphony, which he published in 1911, thinking that it might have been written by Ludwig van Beethoven.[5] He found the name "Beethoven" in two parts, and summarized: "As we do not as yet know of anyone, amongst the followers of Haydn and Mozart towards the end of the 19th century, to whom we could attribute such a composition, which heralds the Master ...".[6] The work was performed as one by Beethoven, until H. C. Robbins Landon, a scholar of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, found in 1957 manuscript portions of the symphony in the Landesarchiv in Rudolstadt, by Friedrich Witt.[6]

Stein's dissertation in 1910 was Geschichte des Musikwesens in Heidelberg bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts (History of music in Heideberg until the end of the 18th century).[4] In 1914 he succeeded Reger as court director of music in Meiningen. As an academic teacher, he was Außerordentlicher Professor in Jena from 1913.[7] In 1919 he was appointed Außerordentlicher Professor for musicology in Kiel, and from 1928 also in Ordinarius.[3] In Kiel he was also the organist at the Nikolaikirche until 1923 and Generalmusikdirektor from 1925 to 1933.[4]

In 1932 he became a member of the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur. In July 1933, he became Reichsleiter der Fachgruppe Musik of the Kampfbund, responsible for music.[3] Under the Nazis, he was director of the Musikhochschule in Berlin.[4] Among his students was Sergiu Celibidache.[8]

After World War II, he lost all his functions and worked freelance. He was later president of the Verbands für evangelische Kirchenmusik.[4] Stein died in Berlin.[9]


  1. 1 2 "Fritz Stein" (in German). Heimat- und Kulturverein Gerlachsheim.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Fritz Stein" (in German). Munzinger. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Klee, Ernst (2007). Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945 (in German). Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer. p. 588.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Prieberg, Fred K. (2004). Handbuch Deutsche Musiker 1933–1945 (in German). Kiel: CD-Rom-Lexikon. pp. 6817–6818.
  5. "Fritz Stein (Conductor, Musicologist)". Bach-Cantatas. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  6. 1 2 Prieser, Marcus (2009). "Friedrich Witt / (b. Niederstetten, 8. November 1770 – d.Würzburg, 3. January 1836) / Symphony in C-major / ("Jena Symphony", previously attributed to Beethoven)". Musikproduktion Höflich. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  7. Josef Wulf: Kultur im Dritten Reich. Musik. 1989, S. 18
  8. "Fritz Stein". Oxford Index. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  9. "Fritz Wilhelm Stein". Retrieved 18 April 2016.


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