Orff, Carl


Orff, Carl

biographical name

(born July 10, 1895, Munich, Ger.—died March 29, 1982, Munich) German composer and music educator. He trained at the Munich Academy and held several musical posts thereafter. In the 1920s he grew interested in early Baroque music and the association of music with movement. In 1924 he cofounded a school for which he devised a comprehensive music education program (Orff Schulwerk) involving improvisation on specially designed gamelan-like percussion instruments; the program has since come into wide international use. He typically used repetitive rhythms, bare harmonies, and powerfully direct vocal parts, as in his best-known work, the secular oratorio Carmina Burana (1937), which is based on a manuscript of medieval poems.

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