Cultural Family Background:

Georg Raphael
Georg Raphael

Paternal Background:

Grandfather: A b r a h a m  R a p h a e l  (1822 - 1875), cloth manufacturer.

Grandmother: The singer  J u l i e  C o h n  (1835 - 1914), directed a "musical and literary salon” in Berlin where Joseph Joachim - among other famous personages – was a regular guest and performer.

Father:  G e o r g  R a p h a e l  (1865-1904).
Since assimilation of Jewish citizens was in keeping with
the spirit of the time - but especially because of his love
to J.S.Bach’s music - he converted to the Protestant confession.
He began studying medicine and then music; he was engaged
as a church musician at the Luther Kirche and later became the music director of the Matthäi Kirche in Berlin.
Compositions: various psalm settings, choral motets, sacred
songs, works for organ, violin and for orchestra.


Albert Becker
Albert Becker

Maternal Background:

Grandfather:  A l b e r t  B e c k e r  (1834-1899).
Albert Becker was an important Berlin composer and church
musician who came from a long line of church music directors dating back to the early 1600s (from Quedlinburg).
He taught at the Scharwenka Conservatory of Music and in
1891 became the director of music at the Dom in Berlin.
His students included Jean Sibelius, his son-in law Georg Raphael, as well as Kaiser Wilhelm I.! - Kaiser Wilhelm II. would not allow him to accept the illustrious offer of Thomaskantor in Leipzig; rather he made him a member of the Royal Academy of the Arts and then also supported Becker’s Dom Choir.
Compositions: countless works for choir, song, chamber music, and various concert pieces.

Mother:  M a r i a  B e c k e r  (1878 - 1952), violinist.

Curriculum Vitae Günter Raphael
born on April 30th in Berlin.
From his earliest years he is surrounded by his family’s cultural tradition and thereby acquires an extensive knowledge of classical and humanistic literature. The comprehensive libraries of his father Georg R. and his grandfather A.Becker give him access to the entire music literature.  
  His first composition is a short "Lied" for piano. Günter Raphael, viola player and pianist, plays and works through the complete chamber music and violin repertoire with his mother. In addition he studies the piano and organ literature as well as all other available scores from the past centuries.
  According to his own diary, op.1 is a Rondo for violin, viola and piano. By the age of eighteen he is familiar with every known score, is at home with all musical styles and has already acquired the skills of a composer on his own. He takes private composition lessons from Arnold Ebel.
  Because of his extraordinary entrance examination results to attend the Berlin University of Music, he is awarded the Robert Schumann Leipzig Foundation Scholarship and studies composition with Robert Kahn. However Kahn – like Arnold Ebel before him – is hardly capable of teaching Raphael anything he did not already know.
  Karl Straube, Thomaskantor in Leipzig and a friend of his father, becomes Raphael’s mentor and advisor.
  On Straube’s initiative, Raphael receives private instructions with Arnold Mendelssohn in Darmstadt. The premiere in Berlin of his First String Quartet in E minor is performed by the Busch Quartet.
  The Second String Quartet in C major is also premiered by the Busch Quartett in Berlin. Raphael signs his first contract with Breitkopf & Härtel and moves to Leipzig where the first performance of his Symphony Nr.1 is conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler with the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
  Raphael teaches music theory and composition at the State Conservatory of Music in Leipzig.
  Under the Nazi regime’s nomenclature, Raphael is declared to be a "half-Jew”, which in turn forbids all professional endeavors and the performance of his music. At the end of the summer semester he loses his teaching position at the Leipzig Conservatory. He marries his Danish student, the pianist Pauline Jessen*, in Copenhagen and they move to Meiningen (Thuringia) where Jessen already held a teaching position. It is there that two daughters Dagmar and Christine are born eight years apart. (Christine Raphael (1943 - 2008) became a solo violinist and performer of the complete violin compositions of her father). During the course of this year, Raphael contracts a life threatening tuberculosis that will force him to undergo numerous operations and spend extended periods of time in sanatoriums.
  Not to be diverted in spite of his illness, miserable hospital circumstances, professional ostracism and the increasing mortal danger posed by the SS (especially after 1941) Raphael continues to compose profusely. His doctors often protect him from imprisonment by the Nazis.
  His tuberculosis forces Raphael to move to Laubach (near Gießen) to reside in the vicinity of his friend and surgeon, Professor Franz Volhard. It is very difficult for Raphael to regain recognition after the war, he has been banned too long from German musical life by the Nazis. Though he helps his collegues through the procedure of denazification giving them a new chance, ironically enough there is no support for him. Even though he finds publishers for the unpublished pre-1945 compositions and the radio stations reopen their doors for him, it is impossible to reclaim his prewar musical status such as the teaching position he had held in Leipzig. Together with his wife Pauline they perform as a piano duo, giving numerous concert tours and radio broadcasts.
  Raphael is granted the Franz-Liszt-Award for composition. (His grandfather, Albert Becker had received that same award seventy years earlier.)
  He teaches at the Duisburg Conservatory of Music. During this period a further operation and a ten-month stay at a sanatorium in Uppsala (Sweden) is financed by the Swedish government.
  He is offered the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig which he declines, not wishing to lose his artist freedom in East Germany. He becomes a lecturer at the Peter Cornelius Conservatory of Music in Mainz and at the Cologne University of Music.
  He is appointed Professor at the Cologne University of Music.

Günter Raphael dies in an ambulance en route to Herford as a result of his long-standing illness.


  Günter Raphael is posthumously awarded the title "Senator of Honour” at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy University of Music in Leipzig.
  Pauline Raphael (-Jessen), (1910 - 2002)