23 Sept. 1896 Born in Berlin into a German-Jewish middle class family. His parents were religious but not strictly orthodox. When AW was 10 years old, his father died of tuberculosis. He adored his mother singing to him a song with a high voice for an angel and a low voice for St Peter. He received a good education, felt himself to be a loner but loved football.
He was studying law at University when he was conscripted into the
Army and fought on the Eastern front in World War I later the Western front.
He suffered terrible traumas from the cries of pain and for not going to help
one agonising soldier. He returned shell shocked and broken in health.
1919/20 He travelled to Italy, re-found strength and inspiration. Returning to Germany, he abandoned law and decided he wanted to sing. His lack of progress with his teachers prompted him to develop his own theories integrating his appreciation of music, art, literature and current psychological studies of the time (notably C.G. Jung).
1933 Hitler’s party the National Socialists take over power. Jews were further discriminated against. AW began his first manuscript “Orpheus or the Way to a Mask”.
1935 When trying to get working papers for permission to teach singing, he was advised by Kurt Singer (Director of Berlin City Opera) to contact Paula Lindberg, the famous singer and Charlotte’s step-mother, for help. AW gave Paula lessons and spoke of his own theories on the voice. First meets Charlotte and talks with her for hours about art and creativity during the next years. Had no idea he had any influence on her.
1939 In January, Charlotte leaves for the south of France. A month later, AW flees Berlin to London, helped by Alice Croner. September: War declared.
1940 To avoid internment, AW volunteers to join the Pioneer Corps, he is later invalided out.
1943 AW is given permission by the British Government to give singing lessons.
1945 World War II finishes AW begins his longest and most comprehensive manuscript “The Bridge”. (Awe's letter below)
1947 Sheila Braggins, met AW in London in 1947 at Alice Croners House in Temple Fortune on the same day that she went for an interview at Guys Hospital to possibly start Physiotherapy training. At that time he was teaching in Alice Crooner's sitting room. Roy also started lessons there at this time.
1949 Marita Gunther's date of coming to England from Germany was 1949 when she got a job as a domestic servant with a Mrs Moreau who lived in Guildford. She wrote to AW and met him in London at the studio, 139 Golders Green Road in that year. AW goes to Amsterdam for an operation with Dr Salomon, hears of Charlotte’s death but Dr S knew nothing about the paintings at that time.
1950’s AW has many students. No constant daily contact at that time. Articles are written and contacts made with leading composers, musicians, actors, writers to pass on the work but there is no great response. In ’56, Jenny Johnson performs in the Hoffnung Music Festival to good reviews. A record “Vox Humana” is issued by Folkways and is released in the US.
’56, Kaya Anderson starts lessons with Roy Hart and later with AW.
In the late ‘50s, AW’s ill health intensifies. BBC documentary with AW ‘58. Aldous and Julian Huxley visit the studio.
’59 AW’s work is acknowledged by Dr Paul Moses, Speech and Voice Professor at Stanford University, San Francisco.
Feb.1962 AW health deteriorates and he dies after developing a chest
infection while in hospital. He had been teaching up to 10 days before his
Alfred Wolfsohn : biography