Herta Blaukopf (1924-2005) and Kurt Blaukopf (1914-1999)

  • Profession: Biographer of Gustav Mahler, literary and musicologist who also worked as a journalist and publishing editor.
  • Relation to Mahler: Researcher.
  • Correspondence with Mahler: No.
  • Born: 03-01-1924 Vienna.
  • Died: 19-01-2005 Vienna. Cemetery: Friedhof Mauer. Kurt Blaukopf (Wittgenstein)

Herta Blaukopf was born on 03-02-1924 in Vienna as the daughter of the merchant Julius Singer and the Franconian born Anna Singer, Herta Singer. She came from a maternally social-democratic family – her grandfather Richard Fränkel had been the leader of the social-democratic workers’ association – and grew up in an environment described as non-denominational and agnostic.

Her father had Jewish roots but was not religious. With musical support from her mother’s family, she started playing the piano in her childhood. Her piano skills were constantly being promoted during her youth and adolescence; From 1938 to 1945 she took lessons from pianist and composer Olga Novakovic (1884–1946), who was probably the first student of Arnold Schönberg. She also attended courses and took a course in musical form theory with Anton von Webern in the later years of the Second World War.

After elementary school, she attended the humanistic girls’ high school in Rahlgasse in Vienna’s 6th Mariahilf district, where she graduated from lower school. As a “first degree Jewish half-breed”, she was denied further visits after Austria’s annexation and the increasingly stringent regulations. After leaving school in June 1938, she took lessons in foreign languages ??and, after a year-long break, moved to the Handelsakademie at Karlsplatz in Vienna’s 1st Inner City district in 1939, which at that time was run as a business school.

On February 5, 1943, the then 19-year-old passed her matriculation examination with distinction and, after finishing school, took a job in an office because she had been denied university studies under the Nazi regime because of her descent.

Immediately after the end of the Second World War, Singer enrolled in German studies as a major at the University of Vienna in the summer semester of 1945, which only started in May due to the war. At the same time, she took English studies as a minor from the 1945 summer semester to the 1947/48 winter semester. After three years of study, she received her doctorate on May 12, 1948 with a dissertation on time and society in the work of Arthur Schnitzler.
Hans Rupprich and Dietrich Kralik acted as first and second reviewers of their dissertation. Other rigorous examiners of Blaukopf were the Indo-Europeanist Wilhelm Havers, Alois Dempf (philosophy) and Hubert Rohracher (psychology) for the Philosophicum. According to an official memorandum on the Rigorosenprotokoll, her two semesters were enacted for the actual minimum duration of study of eight semesters “in the course of reparation for the prevention of studies for racial reasons”.

Professional activities: Gustav Mahler

Subsequently, she worked for several years in the editorial department of the daily newspaper Der Abend and worked as a lecturer in several publishing houses between 1958 and 1964, including for the Universal Edition. At the same time she married the music sociologist Kurt Blaukopf (1914-1999) in 1959; on April 22, 1962, the son Michael was born.

Through her husband, who was already a renowned Mahler researcher, she turned more and more to the biographical research of the composer Gustav Mahler. For example, she published three volumes of letters from Mahler (Gustav Mahler – Richard Strauss. Correspondence between 1888-1911 (1980), Gustav Mahler, Letters, New Edition (1982) and Gustav Mahler, Unknown Letters (1983)).

From the 1950s, she also published some works in collaboration with her future husband. Music guides Vienna were created. Discovery trip to the capital of music (1957), The Vienna Philharmonic. Essence, Become, Work of a Large Orchestra (1986), The Vienna Philharmonic. World of the Orchestra – Orchestra of the World (1992), Gustav Mahler. Life and work in testimonies of the time (1994) or Gustav Mahler – Letters (1996).

Despite her marriage in 1959, she continued to publish under her maiden name as Herta Singer until 1964. Other noteworthy works that Herta Blaukopf published alone are Im Wiener Kaffeehaus (1959) or Humor & Hamur (1962). Furthermore, she wrote the article Positivism and Ideology in German Studies. From the beginnings of Austrian language and literature research in philosophy, literature and music in the Orchestra of Sciences (1996), which was published by her husband. In Science in Fiction – Fiction in Science.

For the conversation between literature and science by Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler from 1998, she is contributing Stifter’s literary record. A means of representing the ‘real truth’. represented. With from a writing workshop. Living and working with Kurt Blaukopf. in 2000 published art, art theory and art research in scientific discourse. In memoriam Kurt Blaukopf (1914-1999) by Martin Seiler and Friedrich Stadler, she wrote a contribution in memory of her husband, who had died a year earlier.

Throughout her life she took part in many symposia and congresses and published numerous articles on Mahler research in congress files, commemorative publications and anthologies. In addition, she made constant contributions to and contributed to the news about the Mahler research of the International Gustav Mahler Society (IGMG) in Vienna, published since 1976 and edited by her from 1978 to 1994. Blaukopf had a close friendship with Erwin Ratz, the founding president of the company founded in 1955 on the initiative of the Vienna Philharmonic.

For the IGMG, Blaukopf was also involved in the organization of various exhibitions. In 1980, in collaboration with Emmy Hauswirth (1918–1999), a photo traveling exhibition on Mahler took place, which led through over 30 countries. In addition, Blaukopf wrote numerous reviews and articles in newspapers and magazines and, in parallel with musicological research, was also involved in publications on Austrian culture and literature.

Until the end, she worked as a co-creator of the research focus initiated by her husband, “Scientific Concept of the World and Art” at the Institute Vienna Circle (also Institute Vienna Circle or IVC for short). In doing so, she wrote important contributions on the history of German studies and the history of Austrian science and culture.

The exhibition, which took place from September 2005 to January 2006 under the title Mahleriana – From becoming an icon in the Vienna Jewish Museum on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the IGMG, was originally planned and designed by Blaukopf. However, since she became seriously ill at the same time, with the exception of some conceptual preparatory work, she could hardly contribute anything to the exhibition. Furthermore, there was also no publication of a planned and (extended) joint reissue of the correspondence between Mahler and Strauss from 1980 and the volume Gustav Mahler, Unknown Letters from 1983, which she called Extra Sample at my expense wanted to publish.

On January 19, 2005, Blaukopf died after several months of serious illness, shortly after her 81st birthday, in her hometown of Vienna and was buried on February 17, 2005 alongside her husband at the Mauer cemetery in the family grave of the Singer family. On January 25, 2005, An Obituary, written by Ilse Korotin and Nastasja Stupnicki, appeared in Die Presse under the title Gustav Mahlers Trustee.

On the death of the Viennese literary and music researcher Herta Blaukopf. The two also dedicated a multi-page contribution to the renowned Mahler researcher in their volume Biographies of Important Austrian Scientists, published in 2018. Korotin also mentioned her in her four-volume lexicon biografiA, published in 2016. Lexicon of Austrian women.


1959: Im Wiener Kaffeehaus
1962: Humor & Hamur
1996: Positivismus und die Ideologie in der Germanistik. Aus den Anfängen der österreichischen Sprach- und Literaturforschung. In: Philosophie, Literatur und Musik im Orchester der Wissenschaften, Hrsg. Kurt Blaukopf
1998: Stifters literarischer Protokollsatz. Ein Mittel zur Darstellung der ‚wirklichen Wahrheit‘. In: Science in Fiction – Fiction in Science. Zum Gespräch zwischen Literatur und Wissenschaft, Hrsg. Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler
2000: Aus einer Schreibwerkstatt. Leben und Arbeiten mit Kurt Blaukopf. In: Kunst, Kunsttheorie und Kunstforschung im wissenschaftlichen Diskurs. In memoriam Kurt Blaukopf (1914-1999), Hrsg. Martin Seiler und Friedrich Stadler

With Kurt Blaukopf

1957: Musikführer Wien. Entdeckungsreise in die Hauptstadt der Musik
1980: Gustav Mahler – Richard Strauss. Briefwechsel zwischen 1888–1911
1982: Gustav Mahler, Briefe, Neuausgabe
1983: Gustav Mahler, Unbekannte Briefe
1986: Die Wiener Philharmoniker. Wesen, Werden, Wirken eines großen Orchesters
1992: Die Wiener Philharmoniker. Welt des Orchesters – Orchester der Welt
1994: Gustav Mahler. Leben und Werk in Zeugnissen der Zeit
1996: Gustav Mahler – Briefe

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