Manfred Schmitz may well be one of the most industrious musicians of the present day. In doing so, he always manages to uniquely combine his work as a pianist, composer, arranger and band leader with his commitment to teaching music to young people. Born in 1939, he studied piano from 1957-1962 at the ‘Franz Liszt’ University for Music in Weimar, where he also later taught as a lecturer for jazz and entertainment music from 1968-1984. From his collection of teaching materials, which he created himself for this very purpose, emerged, almost by accident, the 3-part JAZZ-PARNASS in the 1970s. Even today, it is a standard work for everything to do with jazz piano. It was even translated into Russian and sold 25,000 copies in the former USSR. However, even his wide-ranging work as a composer in almost all genres of popular music was continued in his teaching. While he wrote for the repertoires of famous interpreters over the years, such as Gisela May, Uschi Brüning and many more, accompanied them on the piano and jazzed with the Manfred-Schmitz-Trio all over Europe, he also promoted chanson students in Weimar as well as pupils from the Berlin-Köpenick music school by composing for them and producing music with them. This means that he is always surrounded by colleagues who were previously his students in one way or another. For many music teachers, Manfred Schmitz is known above all for the large bandwidth of teaching and playing literature that he wrote for various instruments and ensembles, aimed at both small children, beginners and advanced players. Then again, all of this is simply a side effect of his many years of being a lead teacher at the Berlin-Köpenick Music School, working with pupils and pupil ensembles, up until 2004. Instead of taking the word ‘retirement’ literally from now on, he is taking the knowledge and experience he has gained to the next stage.
Sadly, Manfred Schmitz died after a short, serious illness on 07.07.2014.