Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau who died on 18th May of this year was a renowned German baritone. He was born on May 28, 1925 in Berlin, where both his parents were teachers. He learned to play the piano from his mother. He started taking voice lessons at sixteen, but suffered an early set back when he was drafted into the armed forces in 1943, having just completed his secondary school studies and one term at the Berlin Conservatory. He was captured in Italy in 1945 and spent two years as prisoner of war, however this did not end his love affair with music. He took advantage of the time to continue his musical studies and to perform where possible, entertaining the troops with his renditions of Schubert songs. Once the Nazis were defeated, Fischer-Dieskau returned to Berlin and began singing professionally.
He returned to Germany in 1947 and briefly studied at the Berlin Conservatory. His professional career took off in earnest in 1947 when he sang in Brahms' German Requiem, having been asked to stand in for a singer who had fallen ill. He gave many performances after that, mainly at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He also made guest appearances at the Vienna State Opera, at Covent Garden and at the Hamburg State Opera. His first concert tour in the United States took place in 1955 and he gave his first recital at Carnegie Hall in 1964.
Described as "no child prodigy" at an early age, he was later on called "a born god who had it all". Time magazine acclaimed him as the world's greatest Lieder singer, who regularly sold out concert halls all over the world until his retirement in 1992. Since that time he devoted his life to teaching, conducting & writing. A notoriously heavy smoker, he believed that smoking added something intangible to his tonal quality. He is survived by his fourth wife and three sons from first marriage.
The Music Library has many of Fischer-Dieskau CDs among its collection