The German composer, organist, pianist and conductor Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger was born on 19 March 1873 in Brand in the Upper Palatinate. He died in Leipzig on 11 May 1916 at the age of 43. March 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Max Reger received music lessons at an early age and decided to become a musician in 1888 after attending the Bayreuth Festival. He studied in Sondershausen and Wiesbaden and obtained a position at the conservatory there as a teacher of piano and organ. In 1901 he moved to Munich, where he was very active as a composer and pianist and was appointed to the Royal Academy of Music in 1905. In 1907 he became university music director and professor at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig. In addition to teaching in Leipzig, he was court conductor at the famous Meininger Hofkapelle from 1911 to 1914.
As a composer, Max Reger made significant achievements in the fields of chamber music, lied, choral and orchestral music. However, he became most famous for his compositions for the organ. His organ works were described by himself as technically very difficult and often require the use of all the technical possibilities of an organ. However, he is also considered the perfector of “chromatic polyphony”, which was once cultivated by his role model Johann Sebastian Bach.