Born on the 19th December 1882 in Frankfurt on Maine, the son of the stationed Spanish consul, Romanist, lawyer and man of letters Ludwig Braunfels. (1810 – 1885, translator of the Nibelungenlied and of Don Quixote) and his second wife Helene, maiden name Spohr (1846-1920), the great niece of the composer Ludwig Spohr. As the youngest of four children, he completed his studies at the Frankfurt Humanistic High School


Walter Braunfels (1920)


1889 1st known song: “Der Alpenkönig” (“The king of the Alps”).


Student at the Hoch’schen Conservatory: Theory by Iwan Knorr, piano by James Quast (teacher and father-in-law of Pfitzner).


He began to study national economy and law at the Kiel University. Beside he practiced and improvised on the piano and began to translate the ‘Oedipus.’
1902 He changed to the Munich University. The artistic stimulating atmosphere and the overwhelming experience of a “Tristan”-performance resulted in him altering his career aim.
1902-03 Studied music in Vienna: Piano taught by Theodor Leschetitzky, theory with Karl Nawratil (Arnold Schönbergs teacher)
since 1903 Composition under Ludwig Thuille in Munich.
28.1.1904 The first public engagement is a piano evening in Munich. Encore: Improvisational piece, the theme given from the audience.
1905 The first visits to the house of the sculptor Adolph von Hildebrand, where he meets his youngest daughter Betal, the fiancée from Wilhelm Furtwängler.
21.1.1909 Premiere of “Symphonischen Variationen über ein altfranzösisches Lied” (“Symphonic variations about an old French song”) op.15 in Lübeck under Hermann Abendroth. More performances in Dresden, Vienna, Berlin (Hausegger) and Munich (with Hans Pfitzner as conductor).
25.3.1909 Premiere of the opera “Prinzessin Brambilla” op.12 from ETA Hoffmann in the Staatstheater Stuttgart (State Theatre Stuttgart) under Max von Schillings.
5.5.1909 Marriage with Bertel von Hildebrand.
2.6.1910 Premiere of the “Offenbarung Johannis” (“Revelation of John”) op.17 for tenor- solo, double choir and large orchestra in Zurich under Volkmar Andreae.
9.1.1911 Premiere of the “Serenade” op.20 for a small orchestra in Munich under Ernst Schuch.
20.11.1911 Premiere of the piano concert op.21 in Berlin, soloist Walter Braunfels, conductor Siegmund von Hausegger.
1913 The beginning of the composition of the opera “Die Vögel” (“The Birds”) from Aristophanes.
1915 Founding of the new school for the application of rhythm in Hellerau by Dresden.
Walter Braunfels was registered as a soldier.
1917 Service at the front, injury, converted to Catholicism
1920 Premier of the “Phantastischen Erscheinungen eines Themas von Berlioz” (“Fantastic Appearances of a Theme from Berlioz”) op.25 in Zurich under Volkmar Andreae. Other performances in Frankfurt under W. Furtwängler, in Leipzig under A. Nikisch likewise in Munich, Berlin and New York under Bruno Walter.
30.11.1920 Premier of the opera “Die Vögel” (“The Birds”) under Bruno Walter in Munich. Almost 50 performances follow alone in Munich, more in Berlin, Vienna, Cologne, etc.
28.2.1922 Premier of the “Te Deum” op.32 under Hermann Abendroth in Gürzenich by Cologne. Almost 100 additional performances, among others in Munich and Vienna under Bruno Walter.
1924 Premiere of the “Don-Juan-Variations” op.34 for a large orchestra in Leipzig (Furtwängler). Additional performances: Frankfurt (Clemens Krauss) and Dresden (Fritz Busch).
15.11.1925 Premiere of the “Don Gil von den grünen Hosen” (“Don Gil from the green Trousers”) op.35 in Munich under Hans Knappertsbusch. Additional performances: Leipzig, Stuttgart, Vienna.
1925 W.B. is called to work as the founding director of the 2nd Prussian Music High School to Cologne (together with Hermann Abendroth)
22.3.1927 Premiere of “Prelude and Fugue” for a large orchestra op.37 in Cologne under H. Abendroth.
26.1.1930 Premiere of the opera “Galathea” op.40 in Cologne under E. Szenkar. In the same year in Berlin.
2.3.1933 Dismissed from all official offices. Forced into selling his Cologne house and moved to Godesberg. Withdrew from the public music life.
1933 Composition of the “Adventskantate” (“Advent Cantata”) (Begin of the cantata-cycle: “Das Kirchenjahr” (“The Church Year”))

 Walter Braunfels dismissed from all official offices in Muzot (1935)

1934-1937 Composition of the opera “Der Traum ein Leben” (“The Dream one Life”) op.51 from Grillparzer.
02.03.1937 Meeting with Bruno Walter in Holland, who accepts the opera “Der Traum ein Leben” (“The Dream one Life”) for Vienna, but because of the occupation of Austria in 1938 it is prohibited.
1937 Late autumn: transfer to Überlingen on Lake Constance.
1938-1943 Composition of the opera “Szenen aus dem Leben der heiligen Johanna” (“Scenes from the life of the holy Johanna”). His very own text inspired by the case files from 1431.
5.12.1938 Banned from all public music engagements by the Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Music Association).
1943/44 Composition of the string quartets op.60 and 61
1945 Composition of the string quintets F#-minor op.63
12.10.45 Reinstated as the director of the State Music High School in Cologne
26.9.1946 Premier of the concert piece for piano and orchestra in Hamburg under E. Jochum soloist: Walter Braunfels.
1948 Braunfels is President of the Music High School.
4.4.1948 Premier of the opera “Verkündigung” (“Proclamation”) from Claudel in Cologne under Helmut Schnackenburg with Trude Eipperle as Violaine.
4.4.1949 Premier of “Sinfonia brevis” op.69 in Cologne under Günter Wand.
20.3.1950 The first broadcast of the opera “Der Traum ein Leben” (“The Dream One Life”) at the H.R. in Frankfurt: Directed by Kurt Schroeder.
W. Braunfels moves back to Überlingen.
19.1.1952 W. Braunfels gives his farewell concert as pianist with Bachs D-major Toccata. Beethovens op.111 and the arrangement of the “Organ Fantasy and Fugue” in G- minor by Liszt.
19.12.1952 Gala concert for the 70th birthday under Günter Wand: “Berlioz-Variationen”(“Berlioz Variations”) and “Te Deum” in Cologne.
22.2.1954 The first televised broadcast of the ballade “Der Zauberlehrling” (“The Magic Apprentice”) from Goethe op.71 at NWDR Hamburg under Schmidt-Isserstedt.
19.3.1954 Walter Braunfels dies in Cologne.