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Tilo Medek was born in Jena (Thuringia, Germany) on January 22, 1940,
as the son of Willy Müller-Medek (1897-1965), a chamber musician
and composer, and his wife Rosa, née Gewehr (1902-1967).
Due to his father’s imprisonment and captivity, Tilo Medek’s
musical training was not started before 1950 at the Jena music school,
where he studied violin, piano and improvisation and took various
other courses of music theory. When in 1957 Medek had the possibility
to attending the 12th International Summer Courses for Contemporary
Music in Darmstadt, West Germany, this had a forming influence on
him. The courses were held by Alexander Jemnitz, Luigi Nono, Hermann
Scherchen and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
From 1959 to 1962 Medek studied the piano with Kurt Johnen (1884-1965)
in Quedlinburg (Harz Mountains, Germany).
In 1959 he graduated from high-school in Jena, but refused to complete
his compulsory year (on a collective farm or in a production plant)
expected of all citizens of the former German Democratic Republic.
After the deadline he enrolled at the Humboldt University in Berlin in November 1959 starting his studies in musicology under Walther Vetter, Ernst Hermann Meyer and Keorg Knepler. He furthermore attended lectures in psychology by Kurt Gottschaldt and in art history by Karl-Heinz Clasen, the philosophy cycle in theology by Liselotte Richer and lectures in landscape architecture by Willy Kurth.
At the same time he studied composition with Rudolf Wagner-Régeny
(1903-1969) at the German Academy of Music in East Berlin.
Tilo Medek lost his scholarship after the Berlin Wall was built.
Consequently in 1962 he had to start working as a freelance repetiteur
at the “Ensemble der Berliner Arbeiterjugend” (ensemble
of the young workers of Berlin) and as a composer of music for radio
plays and incidental theatre music.
In 1964 Medek was awarded a diploma in musicology. The title of
his diploma thesis was “The Settings of Goethe’s Prometheus
Subsequently, he became a student in the master class of Rudolf
Wagner-Régeny at the German Academy of Arts in Berlin (German
Democratic Republic) until 1967.
Since then Tilo Medek has received various international awards
at composers’ competitions and comparisons of broadcasting
corporations and television companies, such as the International
Composers’ Competition of the Gaudesamus Foundation Netherlands
1967 (Todesfuge”), the State University of New York (“Das
Dekret über den Frieden”), the Opera Competition of the
German Democratic Republic 1969 (short opera “Einzug”),
the Frierich-Kuhlau-Competition of the city of Uelzen, Germany,
1970 (“Kühl, nicht lau”, No. 2 the “Lesarten
an zwei Klavieren”), the 22ème Tribune Internationale
des Compositeurs of the UNESCO, Paris 1975 (“Kindermesse”),
the Prix Folklorique de Radio Bratislava 1975 (“Der schwere
Traum”), the Prix Danube Bratislava 1977 (the KRO-Netherlands-Recording
of the “Kindermesse”), the Ernst-Reuter-Preis 1982 (together
with Dorothea Medek for her feature “Westöstliche Wechsel,
ausgestellt in der Ankunftszeit”).
In 1968 Medek was involved in the controversy of the “Prague
Spring” in connection with his compositions “Das Dekret
über den Frieden (Lenin) and the “Battaglia alla turca”,
No. 1 of the “Lesarten an zwei Klavieren”, and since
then was seriously hindered in his work by the East German political
1961-1968 first marriage with Dr. med. Inge Brüll (birth of
daughter Saskia in 1966).
Since 1970 he spent several summers of intensive work at Bindow
on the Lake Ziest near Königs Wusterhausen, East Germany.
Tilo Medek lives with his second wife Dorothea Medek, a theatre scholar and author.
They have three children (Mirjam, born 1971, Clara and Immanuel, born 1983).
Involved in Biermann’s denaturalisation on July 15, 1977,
Medek received his “Dismissal from the Nationality of the
German Democratic Republic (GDR)” and, thereupon, had to migrate
immediately to the Federal Republic of Germany.
From 1977 to 1980 he lived in Adscheid near Hennef on the river
Sieg, from 1980 to 1985 in Unkel on the Rhine, and since 1985 he
has lived across the Rhine on the Rheinhöhe in Oberwinter outside
In 1982 Medek established his own music publishing house named
Edition Tilo Medek (since 1999 including printing and binding).
Tilo Medek is a founder member of the “Freie Akademie der
Künste Mannheim” (Independent Academy of Arts in Mannheim,
Germany). In February 1992 he was the honorary composer of the 8ème
Festival International des Choers d’Enfants in Nantes (France).
In summer 1994 he was a guest of honour at the German Academy in
Rome (Italy) at the Villa Massimo. In 1999 Medek was a corresponding
member of the Collegium Europaeum Jenese at the Friedrich Schiller
University at Jena.
During the past years Medek has again taken up his work in the
field of musicology, writing a great number of publications and
giving speeches at numerous events. Also, as 1967 he has always
taught private composer students.
In September 2002 Medek began to build up a composition class at
the Staatl. Musikgymnasium of the Land Rheinland-Pfalz in the city
Since 1962 Medek has continuously worded as a self-employed composer
Tilo Medek died on February 3rd 2006.