Elisabeth Grümmer

Elisabeth Grümmer (née Schilz; 31 March 1911 – 6 November 1986) was a German soprano. She has been described as "a singer blessed with elegant musicality, warm-hearted sincerity, and a voice of exceptional beauty".[1]

Elisabeth Grümmer
Elisabeth Schilz

31 March 1911
Died6 November 1986(1986-11-06) (aged 75)
Warendorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
  • Soprano singer
  • teacher
Years active1940–1986
OrganisationBerlin Musikhochschule
SpouseDetlev Grümmer (died 1944)


Elisabeth Schilz was born in Niederjeutz [now Yutz, near Diedenhofen (Thionville), Alsace-Lorraine] to German parents. In 1918, her family was expelled from Lorraine, and they settled in Meiningen, where she studied theater and made her stage debut as Klärchen in Goethe's Egmont.

She married the concertmaster of the theater orchestra, Detlev Grümmer, and became a mother. The family moved to Aachen, where they met Herbert von Karajan under whose encouragement she made her operatic debut in 1940, in the role of First Flowermaiden in a 1940 performance of Wagner's Parsifal.[2] She went on from Aachen to perform in Duisburg and Prague.

Her husband was killed in their house during the bombing of Aachen in 1944. After the war, she settled in Berlin, singing at the Städtische Oper Berlin. She performed in the major opera houses in Europe and the United States, restricting herself to a small number of roles, primarily sung in German. She was also active in song recitals and concert performances, particularly of Brahms' German Requiem.

The Kammersängerin became a professor at the Berlin Musikhochschule. Among her students are Astrid Schirmer, Gillian Rae-Walker, and Janis Kelly.[3]

Grümmer died in Warendorf, Westphalia on 6 November 1986.[2]

Work and critical receptionEdit

Grümmer was acclaimed both as an opera singer and as a lieder interpreter. The book, The Grove Book of Opera Singers, referred to her "beautiful voice, clarity of diction and innate musicianship" evidenced by her legacy on record.[2]

She appeared in two videotaped performances as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, one conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the other in German translation conducted by Ferenc Fricsay.



Sacred musicEdit

  • Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 by Johann Sebastian Bach, conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, EMICLASSICS 5655092 2CD-Album (1995)
  • Johannes-Passion BWV 245 by Johann Sebastian Bach, conductor Karl Forster, EMICLASSICS 7642342 2CDs-Album (1992)
  • Kantaten - Cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, conductor Kurt Thomas, BERLINCLASSICS B000024WMM CD (1996)
  • Bach MADE IN GERMANY Vol. II Kantaten, Motetten, Weihnachtsoratorium, conductor Kurt Thomas, BERLINCLASSICS B000031W6B 8CD-Album (1999)
  • Die Schöpfung by Joseph Haydn, conductor Karl Forster, EMI 2 CD-Album (1989)
  • Stabat mater by Gioacchino Rossini, conductor Ferenc Fricsay, Melodram (1994)
  • Messa Da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi, conductor Ferenc Fricsay, live recording 1951, Andromeda (2007)
  • Ein Deutsches Requiem Op. 45, by Johannes Brahms, conductor Rudolf Kempe, EMICLASSICS 7647052 (1955)
  • Ein Deutsches Requiem Op. 45, by Johannes Brahms, conductor Otto Klemperer, 1956 radio performance, ICA CLASSICS 5002 (2011)


  • Elisabeth Grümmer, Lieder by Schubert, Brahms, Grieg und Verdi, conductor Hugo Diez and Richard Kraus, TESTAMENT B000003XJQ (1996)
  • Elisabeth Grümmer, Liederabend, Lieder by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schoeck, Wolf, ORFEO 506001B CD (2000)
  • Recital 1970, Lieder by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Reger, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Wolf, Dirigent Richard Kraus, GALA B000028CLY 2CD-Album (2001)
  • Elisabeth Grümmer sings Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Wolf , Historic recordings 1956/1958. Hänssler Classics (2009)



  1. ^ Berg, Gregory (2011). "Classic Archive 28: Great Opera Singers". Journal of Singing. 68 (2).
  2. ^ a b c Laura Williams Macy (2 October 2008). The Grove Book of Opera Singers. Oxford University Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-19-533765-5. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  3. ^ gillianraewalker.com


External linksEdit