Karl-Ernst (Charlie) Schröder, 1958-2003

Requiescat in pace
Thank you for the beautiful music, Charlie.

Biography        Recordings        Reviews        In memoriam


SchroederPhoto Jill Gunsell

Now is this song both sung and past. 

My lute, be still, for I have done.

- from To his lute by Sir Thomas Wyatt, c.1503-1542


Karl-Ernst Schröder was born in Eschweiler, Germany in 1958. He studied Renaissance guitar and lute with Professor Tadashi Sasaki at the Aachen Musikhochschule, attending masterclasses with Anthony Bailes and afterwards continuing his training in early music performance at Switzerland's Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in the lute classes of Eugen M Dombois and Hopkinson Smith. He collaborated with many Baroque and Renaissance ensembles including Mala Punica (Pedro Memelsdorff), Dolcissimo Sospiro, the Basel Consort, various groups associated with René Jacobs, the Badinierie Ensemble, the Lyra Consort, Concerto Köln, the Freiburg Barockorchester, Aurora/Enrico Gatti, Ludwig-Senfl-Ensemble (Michel Piguet), Sonatori Gelosi and Ensemble 415 (Chiara Banchini).  His particular interests were the duo lute repertoire of the early sixteenth century in whch he worked closely with lutenists Robert Barto and Crawford Young and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann, and voice/lute duo recital in which he worked closely with singers Andreas Scholl, Jill Feldman, Martin Hummel and Maria Cristina Kiehr. He gave concerts and recitals throughout Europe, in Israel and in the Americas, as well as making radio and television broadcasts and recordings. He was a highly respected teacher, much in demand for master classes, international courses and conferences. He published in, inter alia, the Bach Jahrbuch and the Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis. Karl-Ernst Schröder died at his home in Basel, Switzerland, on 5 November 2003.


Albertini: Chamber Sonatas
Amours amours amours: Duos for Lutes
Arcangelo Corelli 

Ars Subtilis Ytalica
Carbonelli: Sonatas
Cavalli: La Calisto
D'Amor Ragionando
Deutsche Barocklieder with Andreas Scholl
Eternal Love: 17th Century German Lute Songs
Fasch: Trios & Quattros
Fifty Years of Hungaroton: String Players
Firenze: Narcisso Speculando
Handel: Giustino
Kantate: German Baroque Songs wiith Andreas Scholl
Mazzochi: Sacrae Concertationes
Monteverdi: l'Incoronazione di Poppea
Pianger di Dolcezza (la Grande Poesia Italiana Messa in Musica)
Schütz: Auferstehungs-Historie
Schütz: Weinachts-Historie
The Three Countertenors
Uccelini: Works for Violin
Weiss: Sonatas for Two Lutes



Schröder is the most fleet-fingered and fanciful of lutenists, and his duetting with the voice as it sighed behind the beat in the final dying fall of All ye whom love or fortune hath betrayed was as eloquent as Scholl's singing. 
- The Times 
Scholl’s collaboration with the lutenist Karl-Ernst Schröder is one of those partnerships made in heaven: Schröder balances the singer everywhere, provides calm, exactly judged accompaniment and plays with the same kind of eloquent, elegant virtuosity which distinguishes his partner. On this occasion he played three exquisitely appropriate solos, by John Danyel, Robert Johnson and John Dowland, with the last’s Pavana providing an object lesson in instrumental skill.
- MusicWeb
Eindeutig zu kurz kam Karl-Ernst Schröder, der seinen Auftritt ganz in den Dienst des Solisten stellte. Zu bedauern ist die aus zwei Sätzen bestehende Erläuterung des Programmheftes zu seiner Person, in der zudem ganze drei Mal der Name Andreas Scholl auftaucht. Dabei waren seine Soloauftritte der eindeutige Beweis, daß er seinem Kollegen in Interpretationsgabe und technischer Perfektion in nichts nachsteht. Besonders beeindruckend war, daß er aus einem so diskreten Instrument wie der Laute Töne zu entlocken wußte, die 800 Zuhörer in den Bann gezogen haben. 
- Online Musik Magazin
Andreas Scholl was partnered by the lutenist Karl-Ernst Schröder, who brought his own imaginative accompaniments to the folk songs, and whose three solo items were played lovingly in an introverted manner that made us feel we were eavesdropping on a private performance. 
- The Guardian 
Karl-Ernst Schröder reconstructed the pieces from the incomplete originals and what came out is sensational.... Barto and Schröder play on the highest level.
- Klassik Heute review of the CD of Weiss Sonatas for two lutes
Karl-Ernst took huge pains over many years to work out his [Weiss] reconstructions [...]  These reconstructions will appear in volume 8 of the SL Weiss collected works that I am currently preparing for Bärenreiter. To me they sound like wonderful Weiss, though I am the first to accept that Weiss has weaknesses as a composer which are audible here, too. (That’s part of what was so clever about what K-ES did!)   I think their recording is truly excellent, and said so in my review for Early Music. (' must-have lute record of the decade.’)
- Tim Crawford, commenting on the Weiss recording.



It has been almost 10 years since Charlie has been gone. I sure do miss him. He was a wonderful musician and a faithful friend, and there are no words for such a loss..
- Jill Feldman, Italy

Lieber Charlie,
Fast vier Jahre nach Deinem Tod muss ich hierdurch erfahren, dass Du von uns gegangen bist. Es schockt mich sehr. Damals in den späten 70er Jahren - zusammen bei Sasaki in Aachen - war schon Deine grosse Karriere absehbbar: Du hast uns nicht enttäuscht! Mein Beleid gilt Deinen Angehörigen.
- Norbert Walter Peters, Germany

It has been so difficult for me to accept that Charlie is no longer with us. I miss him and treasure his memory.
- Warren Stewart, USA

Dein Tod traf mich unvorbereitet. Das höchst genussvolle Vergnügen gehabt zu haben, zwei Duett-Konzerten mit Robert Barto zu lauschen und einmal in Basel mit Dir gesprochen zu haben, ist kein Trost hinweg über Dein Gehen aber verleiht mir desto mehr Gewissheit, dass ein sehr sympathischer Mensch und hervorragender Musiker, einer der besten Lautenspieler, viel zu früh diese Welt verlassen hat.
- Robin Walborn, Germany

All lute players will miss you very much. Your Weiss duet with R. Barto is still my favorite CD.  Mir fehlen Worte, um diesen fruehen Tod zu beschreiben.
- Hermann Kleber, California, USA

After the shock of K-E Schröder's death the hard task for the family, his friends and everyone who loved his music will be to accept that he has gone for good.  I only saw him once on stage with Andreas, and I will always remember his nice and gentle smile he gave me when I handed him some flowers. The fine music Charlie made will stay in our hearts. Maybe it can give some consolation to listen to Kantate with the soulcomforting song Ach Herr, laß Deine lieben Engelein.....
- Eva Maria Fürste, Germany

I feel very sad about Charlie Schröder's death. I loved his music. My condolences to his family and friends. 
Unstete Waage des Lebens
immer schwankend, wie selten
wagt ein geschicktes Gewicht
anzusagen die immerfort andre
Last gegenüber.
Drüben, die ruhige
Waage des Todes.
Raum auf den beiden
verschwisterten Schalen.
Gleichviel Raum. Und daneben,
alle Gewichte des Gleichmuts,
glänzen, geordnet.
- Susanne Fritz-Buchelt, Germany

Just a simple Thank You! Thanx for making my musical world richer and more beautiful than I ever dreamed of. May God bless your family and friends. You´ll be surely missed by many.
- Simone Eismann, Germany37

We are all very sad to hear of Charlie's untimely death - a great loss to the world of the lute. He came and gave us a wonderful concert at the Lute Society three years ago which I will always remember - he and Bob Barto played his Weiss duet reconstructions. And what a contribution those duet reconstructions are to the repertoire!
- Chris Goodwin, England  36

La triste nouvelle m'a bouleversé. Je voudrais pouvoir consoler la famille ainsi que Monsieur Scholl qui a perdu un grand musicien et un fidèle ami si affectueux comme partenair.
- Lieselotte Waldhoer, Switzerland 35

Thank you Andreas for this lovely tribute - Viva Charlie!!
- Richard Myron, France

I wish to say, having heard of the death of Karl-Ernst Schröder, that I am distressed and sad. He was a fantastic musician and influenced a lot the growing general opinion about the Baroque lute.
- Michel Cardin, Canada 34

Conocí a Karl hace poco más de un año en un concierto que ofreció junto a Robert Barto en Gijón. Quedé impresionado por la calidad y profundidad de sus interpretaciones de Weiss y nunca olvidaré su semblante sereno y amable capaz, como su música, de transmitir a quienes le rodeaban algo de lo mejor que late en la condición humana. Siento sincera y solidariamente con sus amigos y familiares el dolor por su irreparable pérdida y deseo que entre todos podamos lograr que ese corazón espiritual que, a buen seguro, fue su laúd no deje jamás de latir.
- José María González-Estoquera, Spain 33

This is really sad news. I participated for many years in an early music course by Musica, in Alden Biesen, Belgium, in which he usually was the lute instructor. While I don't play the lute, the custom was to mix up all participants in 'consorts', so taking care you would at least meet each instructor once.  I remember him as a really nice and soft guy, who never lost his temper, and never yelled at the participants. He was also always in for jokes. As far as I followed him, his career was just taking off. May he rest in peace and his remembrance be a blessing to us. 
- Sybrand Bakker, Netherlands 32

What a great teacher he was. I still remember him coming to Cleveland LSA in 2000 with his Mac laptop fully loaded with musical samples to teach a course on Preludes. It was by far the best music course I have ever had. I still remember how much fun it was to be around Charlie that summer and how he was always bubbling with ideas about everything from Medieval lute to Weiss reconstruction. Just devastating to think that he is no longer with us.
- Ekko Jennings, USA 31

I would like to add this ancient Egyptian poem to this wonderful page:
'Weil Du die Musik liebtest,
sei millionenfache Musik
deiner Seele an jeglicher Stätte,
an der Du verweilst.
Dein Herz sei zufrieden mit der Musik!
Mögest Du schön und in Frieden gehen,
und dich der Herzensweite erfreuen
ewiglich, zusammen mit Gott, der Dich liebt.'
- Alexandra Fabrega, Spain 30

O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take his soul to rest. He is gone to that better Place, where only his Musick can be exceeded. But too early. Far, far too early.
- Paul Smith, England29

It is now Wednesday and it has taken me until now to accept that there will be no more music from this gifted player. No quiet smile at the end of a concert. Rest in peace, Charlie - we shall all remember you.
- Gillian Feltis, England 28

I have only just read the messages about Charlie and am totally shocked. I agree with Shan: my memories of him at the Wigmore recital are of a gentle, generous man, a real gentleman. And what a musician... My heart goes out to his family and friends, and Andreas who will miss him dreadfully. As we all shall. 
- Nicole de Weirdt, England 27

I knew this sad news today. For me the first experience of the lute playing was Mr Schröder's lute in Deutsche Barocklieder. His lute was so beautiful and spiritual that I could find the pleasure of listening to the lute music. His Menuetto con variazioni di Locatelli was my favorite. I've never met him but can't stop my tears. May he rest in peace.
- Taeko Sugiyama, Japan 26

What a terrible shock it was to hear about Charlie Schröder's death. I can't begin to imagine how Charlie's family and friends must be feeling. Having met Charlie a few times in rehearsal with Andreas, I thought what a wonderfully sensitive and gentle soul he was. He also had a huge smile and a real sense of fun: it was wonderful to see him and Andreas playing around together with the music and obviously thoroughly enjoying themselves. They seemed to be like soul-mates who had a deep understanding of and inner connection with each other. This was a joy to behold. I too remember the interview where Charlie remarked he just 'fumbled' an accompaniment. Well, if I could fumble around even half as well I'd be delighted - what a gift he had. He was a truly lovely person whose humility was so refreshing. My heart really goes out to his family and friends in their terrible loss.
- Shan McCanlis, England 25

How sad and unexpected news. Mein tiefes Beileid mit allen, die um Charlie trauern.
- C.R., Wales 24

Such tragic news. I will treasure my memories of the performances at the Wigmore Hall and Bristol, seeing the wonderful partnership and obvious friendship between Charlie and Andreas. My heart goes out to his friends and family.
- Helen Spicer, England 23

I deeply regret that I never got the opportunity to see Charlie play in concert, but my thoughts and prayers are with all those who knew and loved him. May his memory be for a blessing.
- Amy Moss, USA 22

This is so sad. I will say a prayer for him. Assit ei angelus testamenti tui Michael et per manus sanctorum angelorum tuorum inter sanctos et electos tuos... 
- Hedvig Priimägi, Estonia 21

What sad news. Anita and I had such a wonderful time at the Wigmore Hall concert. Friendships, and creative partnerships are such valuable (and rare) things. Performed music, of the quality that we were lucky enough to witness that evening, comes only from the closest and most trusting of such partnerships. Andreas and Charlie were an embodiment of what that type of partnership can produce, and of what friendship means. Truly the loss of someone whose potential can only be imagined is very sad indeed. But equally, we will celebrate the opportunity we had to see Andreas and Charlie together - and let our very, very happy memories be the best form of celebration of his rare individual talent and their superlative qualities as partners.
- Patrick and Anita Baglee, England 20

We only met Charlie once but his relaxed musicianship and modesty were very apparent.  Love to Charlie's family and to Andreas. Requiescat in pace. 
- E & A Brannagan, England 19

Sadly. It is too young.  There is not a word when feelings of Andreas are considered to be a family either. Thank you for the performance of a wonderful lute. May he rest in peace.
- Kazuko Yanagida, Japan 18

All I can say is that I'm deeply shocked. I can not believe it. How can these things happen? He was so young and such a nice guy and such a fine musician. I'm glad I could be in both Wigmore concerts this year. I was going to see him again in December in Madrid, now it won't be the same. May God receive him among the most Loved ones.  (And do you remember how well he improvised an accompaniment for Verdi Prati at Wigmore Hall, that make it look like new and fresh music?)
- Luisa Leiria, Portugal 17

Oh no!  Such sad and unexpected news. I never got to see Charlie Schröder in concert, unfortunately, so can't really comment first-hand, and because I've always heard from other Schollers what an affable, generally lovely chap he was as well as a very talented musician, this makes me especially sad.  Looking through my CDs, I realised that one of my all-time favourite Scholl moments (White as Lilies from the Trois Contre-Ténors CD) also involves Charlie prominently, so that is, I suppose, my favourite memory. At the risk of sounding trite and echoing others' sentiments, I post some lines out of Kantate (specifically the Klag-Lied by Buxtehude):
Allhie liegt, des Spielens Gaben
Selbsten Gott erfreuet haben:
Darumb ist sein Geist beglückt
Zu des Himmels-Chor gerückt.
- Nattie Mayer-Hutchings, England 16

Such terrible news. I too remember Charlie at the Wigmore - it was so wonderful to see the friendship between him and Andreas. Most of us can only dream of working in a partnership like that. Charlie was a real star, and will be sorely missed by everyone who encountered him in person, or on his recordings. May he rest in peace
- Charlotte Mercer, England 15

How sad to hear about the death of Charlie Schröder. I had the privilege of being present at the recital he and Andreas were giving at the Wigmore Hall earlier this year. He was a wonderful musician, and they seemed to work so well together. It seems so senseless when someone who still has so much to give dies at such an early age. My deepest condolences to all who knew him.
- Hanne Rendall, England 14

What a great shock to read this news today. Charlie Schröder was a warm-hearted man who had a lovely dry sense of humour. He was also a sensitive and intuitive musician. He must have been a loyal friend and the ideal accompanist for Andreas. I  have a recording of him in an interview talking about playing a lute part when Andreas sings the Folk Songs. As there was no written music he had to devise the lute part himself and said: 'Oh, I just fumble some accompaniment.'  It was so typical of him to say this when we all knew that he was so gifted that he could make something very difficult seem simple. I am sure that he will be greatly missed by all who knew him and even those of us who had only met him a couple of times. My thoughts and prayers are with all his family and friends.
- Naomi Powell, England 13

Vielen Dank for the page on Karl-Ernst.  We will miss him terribly.  I am still in shock.
- Mike Peterson, USA 12

I appreciate the page you have made in memory for Charlie.  What a tragedy for all of us here in America, too, who knew him from his participation in the Lute Society of America Seminar in Cleveland in 2000. 
- Kenneth Be (lutenist), USA  11

Charlie's music making, lost to us, will now grace the banquets of heaven. May those who mourn be given courage and may he expand his repertoire in eternal peace.
- Melanie Toogood, England 10

I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Charlie. Very sad news. A great loss. A wonderful man and a wonderful musician. Thank you for your music – it will be much missed. I was thinking of the last time I saw him which was in Bristol.  I remember Andreas calling Charlie to the front of the stage to take his applause and Charlie shook his head, stood back and applauded Andreas.  Wonderful moment which I thought said a lot about both men.
- Sheila Jackson, England 9

Oh what tragic news! I never had the pleasure of hearing this wonderful and totally comitted musician except on some marvelous CDs.I am thinking of Amour, Amour, Amour in particular. I had so hoped to hear him in person. My deepest condolences to Andreas, family, friends and fans. Thank you, Charlie, for your beautiful music!  I trust it continues in even greater beauty in your new home.
- Alexandra Zavilowicz , USA 8

I am so sad to hear of this tragic loss. He was a wonderful artist, a dedicated musician and accompanist and such a kind, human person. I remember especially a recital he gave with Andreas in Frankfurt two years ago, in November 2001. I was able to thank him personally for his music after the concert and I was very impressed by his deep artistry, honesty and most of all his remarkable modesty. I remember that, during the concert, before he started to play a piece for lute solo, he smiled to the audience and assured them that it would not be too long. When Andreas applauded him warmly at the end of the recital, he would only shake his head and smile humbly. The friendship and musical complicity which united him to Andreas made of each of their duo concerts a true moment of magic. Karl-Ernst Schröder was due to take part to the Schubertiade concert (and many more) in June 2004. It will be so different without him. We will miss him a lot.
- Gaëlle Nicol, Austria 7

I am so sorry. What a loss to his friends, family and colleagues. Really shocked at this news - so sad. An unassuming and kindly man who who spent his life doing what he loved, and it showed in his face.
- Sally Gardner, England 6

Heartfelt condolences to all who loved him. I saw him recently with Mala Punica, in London.  Same Charlie, just smiling gently (such a smile!) and playing wonderfully.  He was so sweet and unassuming. Many people have lost someone special.
- Jill Gunsell, England5

We all feel with them who knew and loved him.
- Anne Lothe, Denmark 4

What terrible news. I'm so sorry. 
- Ana Garcia, Spain 3

Hard to believe we will never have the opportunity again to see this wonderful musician play. I remember how he 'comforted' the audience in Frankfurt by saying: 'Don´t worry! The following seven lute pieces won´t take long,'... and he smiled...  'I am fully convinced that the soul is indestructible, and that its activity will continue through eternity. It is like the sun, which, to our eyes, seems to set in night; but it has in reality only gone to diffuse its light elsewhere.' (Goethe) 
- Lilian Unger, Germany 2

Oh no. Am so shocked to hear of this event. I have an abiding memory, backstage at the Wigmore earlier this year, after a stunning performance from Charlie and Andreas. Charlie and I talked about lute makers (I used to play guitar myself and I mentioned one or two I knew of in the UK, although they went back many years) and the make of his strings, which he said were special composite strings (I think he might have originated the idea or 'formula' for these strings). But what I remember most about Charlie was, he always had time for people and talked to them charmingly, even if he was exhausted (but he never showed it). Such a kind, kind man, who wore his erudition and astonishing talents lightly. I cherish that little chat we had at the Wiggie, and my thoughts & prayers are with his family and friends.
- Ray Frensham, England...1

Photo Jill Gunsell

Wigmore Hall, London,January 2003


The music on this page is part of Menuetto con variazioni di Locatelli by Bernhard Joachim Hagen 
played by Karl-Ernst Schröder, from the CD Deutsche Barocklieder

The Lute Society.....The Lute Society of America.....Andreas Scholl Society
Further links in bold type throughout this page.

Copyright © 2003 Andreas Scholl Society.............