Günter Neubert turns 85
by Helmut Loos
On 19 September 2009, the renowned composer Günter Neubert was elected President of the Grieg-Begegnungsstätte (e. V.). As successor to the founding president Prof. Dr. Hella Brock, an outstanding personality of Leipzig's musical life had once again been found to preserve the memory of Edvard Grieg in Leipzig, who had, to a certain extent, been an elective Leipziger. He had found a permanent domicile at Talstraße 10 with Max Abraham, the owner of the music publisher C. F. Peters, with whom he had concluded a general contract.
Günter Neubert was able to set a striking example right away with his election, because following the meeting, Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung unveiled the bronze bust of Edvard Grieg donated by the honorary conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Prof. Dr. Herbert Blomstedt, in the garden of the meeting place. This was followed by porcelain busts of Grieg (2010), Henri Hinrichsen (2011) and Max Abraham (2013) in the salon of the meeting place. Günter Neubert himself occasionally referred to himself as the "President of Busts". In doing so, he set important signs not only with regard to the Norwegian composer, but above all with regard to the Jewish publishing family, whose tragic family history is to be commemorated in times of dictatorships. The amicable settlement of unresolved ownership issues between the publishing family and the city of Leipzig was celebrated in the meeting place with the participation of high-ranking representatives of the Hinrichsen family and the city of Leipzig.
With his personal commitment, Günter Neubert finally managed to get the City of Leipzig to provide institutional support for the meeting place and to create the position of a museum employee. The support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Verbundnetz Gas AG as well as the cultural programme of the meeting place continued: concerts, lectures, trips such as to the Edvard Grieg Museum Troldhaugen, visits such as that of Herbert Blomstedt, the women's breakfast of the Royal Norwegian Honorary Consulate or the Norwegian lessons in the association's rooms. Particularly noteworthy were the concerts, which included much, but by no means all, music by Grieg and, with numerous Norwegian musicians, were of a very high standard overall.
As a composer effective far beyond the borders of Leipzig, Günter Neubert has a very good network, which he used in the association not for his personal advantage, but for the benefit of the meeting place. His own music resounded in the meeting place on special, personal occasions. So also this year on his 85th birthday, to thank our former president warmly for his wonderful successes in this important stage of the association's history.