Robert Stolz

Born: August 25th, 1880, Graz (Austro-Hungarian Empire)
Died: June 27th, 1975, West Berlin (West Germany)
Nationality: Austrian

Robert Stolz, one of the most famous composers and conductors of the 20th century, graduated from the Vienna conservatory in 1896, when he was only sixteen years of age. He became chief conductor of several theatres in Graz, Salzburg, Brünn (modern-day Brno, Czech Republic), and Vienna. Between the two world wars, his fame as a composer rose sky-high, not only in Austria, but in Europe and America as well. He wrote over sixty operettas, amongst which ‘Das Glücksmädel’ (1910), ‘Im weißen Rößl’ (1930), and ‘Der verlorene Walzer’ (1933), occasionally trying his hand at musicals (e.g. ‘Die Varietédiva’) and – albeit only once – operas (‘Die Rosen der Madonna’, 1920) as well. Later, he started writing film scores as well, examples of which are ‘Hochzeit am Wolfgangsee’ (1933), ‘Spring Parade’ (1940), and ‘Die Deutschmeister’ (1955). Many of his operettas were translated into English and Italian, while songs from these plays became evergreens which stood the test of time (e.g. ‘Im Prater blühn wieder die Bäume’, ‘Adieu mein kleiner Gardeoffizier’, ‘Die ganze Welt ist himmelblau’).

When the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, Stolz fled to Paris. Two years later, he moved to the United States, where he continued to work as film composer, winning two Oscar nominations, meanwhile making nationwide tours with an orchestra playing his greatest successes. In ’46, he returned to his beloved Vienna, where he continued to work as a composer up to very high age (Stolz died when he was 94). Studio recordings of his best-loved compositions were sold world-wide and made him a multi-millionaire. He won countless prizes in many different countries, including an oeuvre award at the Grand Gala du Disque (Amsterdam, 1966).

In 1960, the Austrian broadcaster commissioned Robert Stolz to compose a song for the Eurovision Song Contest. He came up with ‘Du hast mich so fasziniert’, a romantic, quite old-fashioned-sounding ballad sung by Harry Winter; the lyrics were written by one of his regular librettists, Robert Gilbert. At the contest in London, Stolz conducted the orchestra for Winter, making him – 79 years of age at that time – the oldest person ever to have led a Eurovision orchestra. The Austrian entry came seventh in a field of thirteen competing countries.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Robert Stolz will be published on this website



Songs conducted
1960: Du hast mich so fasziniert