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Biography and Chit-chat

Allan Rosenheck


Allan Rosenheck was born in New York City on October 12, 1938. Music played a central role in his life from the beginning. He began taking violin lessons at the age of three and afterwards taught himself the piano. Later he attended the Prep. Div. of the Juilliard School of Music and the High School of Music and Art. Nevertheless, Allan's mind was not just filled with music. Like all New Yorkers, sports were all-important. He wanted to become a baseball player or at least a baseball reporter. These goals of course never amounted to anything.

Since the dream of becoming a famous violinist also proved unrealistic, he decided upon a technical career. After obtaining degrees in electrical engineering at CCNY and NYU, he began working in the field of acoustics: first in electro-acoustics (loudspeaker and microphone development, sound system design) at CBS Laboratories and then after moving to Switzerland (1972) in noise control.

Although he had already written music as a teenager, his composing really developed in Switzerland. At first he wrote simple pieces for his own family and the piano students of his wife Urslä. Then, friends began demanding compositions in the style of his piano improvising, a colorful blend of light classical music, Jazz and Broadway. His first public successes stemmed from requests from recorder groups for ensemble pieces. The Wildwest and New Orleans Suites were the first of a long series of recorder compositions. Pieces for other instruments and voice followed. Many of his works are not too difficult to perform and are thus well suited for children and amateur musicians. Some, however, are on the level of concert pieces. Among his larger-scale works are 3 musicals(The Miraculous Flute, Relda and Wanted) and two suites for youth orchestra (Greetings from America and California Suite), both of which were commissioned by school organizations.

In addition to his composing, Allan Rosenheck, together with colleagues, has initiated a popular concert series "Music of America" with music by Gershwin, Foster, Weill, Rosenheck and others. To date, these concerts have been performed in a dozen Swiss cities.

Following his retirement Allan Rosenheck has finally found more time for composing and the publication of his works in the URSUS Edition. His music has also been published by the  firms Breitkopf +Härtel, Hug, Pan and Trais Giats. Now he also has more time for his sport activities. However, these have shifted over the years from baseball to mountain hiking and snooker.


Dear Friends,

For a long time, I've wanted to send out an E-mail with a kind of "Chit-Chat". Every so often then, I would write about various themes such as:

  1. - Why did I begin to compose for recorders?
  2. - How do I go about composing?
  3. - How do I name the pieces (Popcorn, Pepe's Tango, etc., etc.?
  4. - How did the "Huhn von Thun" come about?
  5. - Why did I recently start composing for the alphorn and earlier for Chorus, Youth Orchestra, usw.?
  6. - Why was Ursus-Publishing created?
  7. - How did my relation with Musiklädle-Schunder in Karlsruhe begin?

There are dozens of further themes about which I'd like to write to amuse my musical friends. And: A chit-chat is not a monologue.  I'd be glad to learn of any personal words you would care to write me: Do we know each other already? Do you have any special ideas or requests, wishes for Chit-Chat themes? or .........  If you are interested in receiving my Chit-Chat, simply let me know via E-mail.