Kurt Leimer

* 1920     † 1974
From 1956 to 1074 Professor in Piano at the Mozarteum Salzburg

Kurt Leimer (Wiesbaden, September 7th, 1920 - Vaduz, November 20th, 1974), German concert pianist, composer and piano professor. He attended high school in Wiesbaden. With the help of a scholarship, he was able to attend the Spangenbergsche Konservatorium in Wiesbaden in 1936, where he studied piano with C. Heintl, and, from 1937 onwards, with Wilhelm von Keitel.

In an evaluation in 1937, Walter Gieseking, Carl Schuricht and Wilhelm Furtwängler spoke of Leimer's abilities with the highest praise (among other things, they were convinced that Kurt Leimer belongs »on the concert stage« and deemed him »worthy of any possible support«).
Due to this evaluation, Kurt Leimer received a scholarship for the Berliner Konservatorium where he continued his piano studies with the Rachmaninoff-student Wladimir Horbowsky and Winfried Wolf.

Kurt Leimer's first public appearance took place in 1938 in Berlin, when he was eighteen years old. In 1939, an additional scholarship enabled him to study with Edwin Fischer and continue his studies in composition at the Berliner Konservatorium (among others with Kurt von Wolfurt).

Towards the end of WWII, Kurt Leimer was drafted into the Wehrmacht and was captured in 1944 in Livorno. With war injuries as a backdrop, he created his Konzert für die linke Hand in einem Satz, which was first performed in 1953 by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan. His career as a concert pianist and composer began after WWII and lead him to the most important stages of the world.

Kurt Leimer always considered the première of Richard Strauss' Panathenäenzug for piano and orchestra (which Strauss had dedicated to Leimer) a particularly important stage in his concert career.

In 1953, Kurt Leimer was appointed to the Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he held a professorship until the end of his life and was leading a master class for piano at the Salzburger Sommerakademie since 1954. The same year, Kurt Leimer promoted with some of his colleagues the Institut für neuzeitliche Klavierausbildung (Institute for new-aged Piano teaching) at the Mozarteum. Unfortunately, it was never established due to administrative hurdles.

In 1955, Kurt Leimer composed his Klavierkonzert Nr. 4 which was first performed under the baton of Leopold Stokowski at Carnegie Hall in New York.

(M. von Orelli, 2013)