Hanning Schröder

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Hanning Schröder
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BornJuly 4, 1896
DiedOctober 16, 1987
  • Composer
  • Violist

Hanning Schröder (born July 4, 1896 in Rostock, died October 16, 1987 in Berlin) was a German composer and violist.


Hanning (originally Hans) Schröder was the son of a captain in Rostock that was born into a family with a love for music, he learned to play the violin at a young age and founded the "Schröder House Orchestra" at the age of 15. Chamber music was his preferred style of music to compose in his works.

He served as a soldier in World War I, during the time of the Weimar Republic he at first studied medicine but then switched to music. After being in Jena and Munich, he came to Freiburg im Breisgau, where he studied composition with Julius Weismann and musicology with Wilibald Gurlitt at the university from 1920 to 1924. He also studied violin and viola with Gustav Havemann. At the “Contemporary Music” in Donaueschingen he met like-minded people and received approval. In 1924/1925 he was the principal violist in the chamber orchestra of the "Düsseldorf Playhouse" and later on also in Berlin for theater, radio and film.

In 1929 he married the musicologist Cornelia Auerbach, who was the younger sister of Johannes Ilmari Auerbach. His newly divorced ex-wife was Ingeborg Harnack (sister of Falk Harnack), who worked for Reinhard Limbach in the Verband Deutscher Konzertchöre|Association of German Concert Choirs. She met and later married Schröder's former violin teacher Gustav Havemann in 1931.

Schröder wrote some pieces for children and amateurs, but for the most part was removed from the youth music movement. At the beginning of the 1930s, Schröder, his wife and the instrumentalist Peter Harlan, as the "Harlan Trio", did concerts with Renaissance and Baroque music on their historical instruments all over Germany. Because Schröder, along with Paul Dessau, Hanns Eisler and others composed for the Großen Arbeiterchor Berlin as well as because his wife was of Jewish descent, he was expelled from the Reich Chamber of Music in 1935. He and his wife were given a Berufsverbot|professional disqualification by the National Socialists. However, because of his talent, he was still allowed to perform during the Nazi era with a special permit as a violist in the Theater am Nollendorfplatz in Berlin. After 1943, his wife Cornelia Schröder-Auerbach and their daughter Nele Hertling lived with the Rienau family in the Dargun pastorate of Mecklenburg, where she was an organist and a choir director from 1944 to 1952. From early 1944 to March 1945, Hanning Schröder and Cornelia Schröder-Auerbach hid a Jewish couple (Werner and Ilse Rewald) in their Berlin apartment at Quermatenweg 148 in Steglitz-Zehlendorf and saved them from certain death.

After the war, Schröder headed the chamber music section of the East Berlin Composers' Association. As a result of the construction of Berlin Wall|the Wall, from 1961 his activities were almost exclusively limited to West Berlin, where he worked as a freelance composer and dealt with the stylistic devices of counterpoint and twelve-tone technique in an undogmatic manner. Here he became a mentor of the Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin. His music started to reduce more and more of it's detail, and became more and more concise and economical. Significantly, the last works are monologues: solo works for violoncello, organ, clarinet, oboe. He died on October 16, 1987 in Berlin. Yad Vashem recognized Hanning Schröder as being "Righteous Among the Nations" in 1978 for having helped saved Jewish people during Nazi rule. Only after the fall of the iron curtain did the Hanseatic city of Rostock pay tribute to its composer. The Max-Samuel-Haus in Rostock gave an insight into the life and work of the artist couple Schröder and Auerbach in an exhibition in the winter of 2017/2018.[1]


Apart from a few orchestral works, Schröder wrote mainly compositions for small chamber music ensembles, as well as solo sonatas for various instruments, cantatas and a singable song for children ("Hansel and Gretel"). His "Divertimento for viola and cello" was awarded in Monaco in 1964. The string quartet about the song of the Moorsoldaten from the Börgermoor concentration camp became world famous.

  • Little piano music (2 booklets, 1952)
  • Music for alto recorder solo (1954)
  • Music for Va (or Vc.) Solo (1954)
  • Music for V. solo (1957)
  • Music for Fag. Solo (1958)
  • Sonata for H. solo (1958);
  • String quartet on the song of the Moorsoldaten (1957);
  • Hansel and Gretel - Singspiel for children (1956)
  • Cantatas; Choirs; Songs; House and school music.
  • 2nd sonata for solo flute (1967)
  • "Völker der Erde" for deep voice, flute and clarinet (1968)
  • "Metronom 80" for solo violin (1969)


  • Hugo Riemann, Wilibald Gurlitt, Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht, Carl Dahlhaus: Riemann Musik Lexikon: Personenteil A-K, edition 12. B. Schott's Söhne, Mainz 1959
  • Nico Schüler: Hanning Schröder. Documents and critical catalog raisonné. Hamburg 1996. ISBN 978-3-928770-67-5
  • Albrecht Dümling: The rise and fall of the violinist Gustav Havemann - an artist between the avant-garde and Nazism. In: Dissonance No. 47 (February 1996) pp. 9-14.


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