Born: February 25th, 1938, Mainz (Germany)
Died: April 1st, 2020, Stuttgart (Germany)
From 1945 onwards, Dieter Reith studied the piano with private teachers, such as Kurt Hermann (1953-’56). As an adolescent, he played in jazz club Katakombe in Mainz (1956-’58). He went to university and studied music as well as experimental physics. From 1961 onwards, he worked as a professional musician, becoming the pianist of the SWF Big Band, where he would stay until 1971. He also played in the orchestras of Peter Herbolzheimer and Kurt Edelhagen; with Herbolzheimer and Jerry van Rooyen from the Netherlands, he composed and arranged the music which was played by Edelhagen’s orchestra during the opening ceremony of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. From 1973 onwards, Reith led the orchestras of broadcaster SWR (Südwestrundfunk) for many TV and radio productions; for SWR, he also worked as an arranger. He released jazz records of his own and wrote arrangements for other artists, most importantly Lalo Schifrin. Reith performed with many jazz greats, including Maynard Ferguson, Stan Getz, and Jean ‘Toots’ Thielemans.
Dieter Reith was the musical director of several West German Eurovision preselections in the early 1980s, but he never accompanied the winner of those heats to the international festival. In 1983, when the Eurovision Song Contest came to Munich, Reith was commissioned to be the show’s musical director. His orchestra accompanied all twenty entries and Reith himself conducted the West German effort ‘Rücksicht’, performed by Hoffmann & Hoffmann – a song with minimal orchestral accompaniment.
In due course, a more extensive biography of Dieter Reith will be published on this website
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