Talking Germany host Peter Craven speaks with Ludwig Güttler about truth, beauty and goodness.
Musician Ludwig Güttler has been working all his life to fathom the fascinating mysteries of his art. He is both a soloist and conductor and has three ensembles, including the Virtuosi Saxoniae. Güttler is also a researcher, who has returned to the concert stage the works of many a forgotten composer.
Born on June 13, 1943 in Sosa, a village located in Germany's Ore Mountains – the Erzgebirge – Güttler was the eldest of four children. His father had been wounded in the war, and he developed a close relationship with his grandfather. Ludwig Güttler worked hard for his grandfather, who ran a construction firm. His grandfather also gave him his first musical instrument, a harmonica. The musically-gifted youngster went on to try the piano, flute, organ and the cello, before he discovered the trumpet and went on to study music in Leipzig. In just a few years, Güttler became one of the best-known solo trumpeters in East Germany. He received many awards and became a professor at the renowned Musikhochschule in Dresden. Despite the fact that he enjoyed many privileges as an internationally famous musician, he repeatedly struggled with the repressive and arbitrary nature of East Germany's Communist regime. In 1990, the year that Germany reunified, Güttler became the spokesman of a citizens' initiative to rebuild Dresden's Frauenkirche. The one-time trademark of the city had been destroyed during the bombings in World War Two. The East German regime left the ruin standing, though many Dresden residents perceived it as an open wound. Ludwig Güttler gathered donations from all over the world and played more than 1500 benefit concerts to raise money for the project. In just a decade, some 100 million euros had been amassed. The Frauenkirche was consecrated during a ceremony in October 2005.
Seen as a leader by many, people who are familiar with Güttler's commitments say he is an exemplary individual dedicated to a civil society in which like-minded people work together to achieve their aims.