Carl Orff

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Carl Orff: Carmina Burana

Orff, Carl

(ôrf), 1895–1982, German composer and educator. After studying at the Academy of Music at Munich, he helped to found the Günter School there in 1924. As a composer Orff wished to simplify music, to return to its primitive components. He attempted to adapt old monodic forms to modern tastes, employing dissonant counterpoint and vigorous rhythms. His most famous work is the Carmina Burana (1937), a scenic oratorio derived from a group of medieval poems in German and Latin (see also Goliardic songsGoliardic songs
, Late Latin poetry of the "wandering scholars," or Goliards. The Goliards included university students who went from one European university to another, scholars who had completed their studies but were unable to buy benefices (ecclesiastical offices), unfrocked
..... Click the link for more information.
). This oratorio forms part of a trilogy that includes Catulli Carmina (1943), a scenic cantata based on the works of Catullus; and Trionfo di Afrodite (1953). Orff's other works include the operas Der Mond [the moon] (1939) and Die Kluge [the wise woman] (1943). From 1960 he was head of the Orff School for Music in Munich. His work in music education has attracted a considerable following in the United States.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Orff, Carl


Born July 10, 1895, in Munich. German composer, teacher, theater figure, and playwright (Federal Republic of Germany).

In 1913–14, Orff studied composition at the Munich Academy of Music; he continued his studies under H. Kaminski. He worked as a conductor at the Munich Drama Theater, later appearing as a concert conductor. In 1924 he helped found the Günter Schule, a school for gymnastics, music, and dance, in Munich.

By the mid-1930’s, Orff had shown himself to be an original composer for the musical theater. He became widely known for his full-length stage works that combined drama, singing, recitation, choreography, pantomime, and a unique orchestra consisting primarily of percussion instruments. Orff composed works based on plays by Sophocles (Antigonae, 1947–48; Oedipus Rex, 1957–58), Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1962), and Aeschylus (Prometheus, 1963–67). He also wrote musical works whose themes were taken from folktales (The Moon, 1937–38; The Prudent Woman, 1941—42; The Cunning Ones, 1945–52), historical chronicles, and mystery plays (more than 15).

As a teacher, Orff developed a system of musical instruction based on the group training of children. He compiled a collection of studies (vols. 1–5, 1951–55; with G. Keetman) that includes choruses, instrumental pieces for various ensembles, and short theater pieces. In 1962 the Orff Institute opened in Salzburg. A division of the Mozarteum, a higher school of music and theater, it is directed by the Austrian teachers W. Keller and H. Regner. The institute works with children and trains teachers from all over the world.

Orff’s system has become popular in many countries. In the USSR his methods are being tried on an experimental basis. Orff is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (1950) and the Academy of St. Cecilia (Rome, 1957). In 1949 he received the National Prize of the German Democratic Republic.


Leont’eva, O. “Karl Orf—dlia detei.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1963, no. 7.
Leont’eva, O. Karl Orf. Moscow, 1964.
Sistema detskogo muzykal’nogo vospitaniia Karla Orfa. [Edited by L. A. Barenboim.] Leningrad, 1970. (Translated from German.)
Vanagaitė, G. Mes ir žaislai: Pjesès barŝkuči u orkestrui [Edited and with systematic notes by V. Krakauskaitè.] Vilnius, 1967.
Carl Orff: Ein Bericht in Wort und Bild, 2nd ed. Mainz, 1960.
Liess, A. Carl Orff. London, 1966.
Keetman, G. Elementaria: Erster Umgang mit dem Orff-Schulwerk. Stuttgart, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
(3) His subjects cover a bewilderingly wide range, from pop artists (John Lennon and Frank Zappa), to sports figures (Bobby Moore), playwrights and actors (John Osborne and Richard Burton), stage directors (Peter Sellars), musicians (Yehudi Menuhin and Eric Clapton), and numerous classical and popular composers, including Dmitry Shostakovich, Richard Wagner, Carl Orff, Frederic Chopin, Johannes Brahms, John Adams, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon, etc.
A photograph accompanied the report and showed Carl Orff, "one of Germany's well-known exponents in the development of rhythmic teaching techniques, is shown in his lecture-demonstration" (Lawler, 1953, p.
Beryl is the K-12 Arts Education consultant for Manitoba Education and first VicePresident of Carl Orff Canada.
In the mid 1930s the German composer Carl Orff selected 24 poems from the larger collection of 254 and set them to music.
Primary source documents include the writings of Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, video recordings of Keetman taken as she taught and performed, and sound recordings and manuscripts of music written by Keetman.
THERE'S something raw and earthy about Carl Orff 's Carmina Burana.
The song, a Carl Orff composition from his 1937 oratorio Carmina Burana, emerged as the most played classical recordings of the past 75 years.
Anton and Erin seem to float across the floor as they turn and lift in the waltz and quickstep, while a tango set to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana adds drama.
Carmina Burana von Carl Orff: Entstehung--Wirkung--Text.
Collaborating with the Brooklyn Philharmonic on Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, choreographer Nicholas Leichter shakes up a classic work with movement motifs that could just as easily be found at a rave or disco as on the pages of an illuminated manuscript.
Such is the case with his recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, that perennial favorite of music lovers the world over, as well as movie directors and television-commercial producers.