About Carl Orff
(1895-1982) 20th Century music – Germany
Carl Orff began studying the piano at the age of five. He also had lessons on the organ and cello. He decided early on that he was more interested in composing his own music than performing the works of others. Without any formal training, Orff began writing songs and works for piano, violin, zither and glockenspiel. His mother helped him write down his compositions in musical notation. By the age of 16, he had published some of his music. He was influenced by Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy, but his early interest in composing for unusual instrumentation became a hallmark of his works. Orff is the composer of the very famous cantata Carmina Burana, which is based on 11th and 12th century medieval poems. One of Orff’s greatest achievements was developing an innovative approach to music education, which combines movement, singing, playing an improvisation, called Orff Schulwerk.