- Category : 1897-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (9,57)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 2
German viola player, conductor and composer who in 1948 became rector of the Liszt Music Academy in Weimar.
In 1913, he entered the Dr Hoch Music Conservatory where his teachers included Bernhard Sekles (improvisation) and Adolf Rebner (violin). It was at the Hoch Conservatory that Gerster also got to know Paul Hindemith who was a near contemporary.
From 1921 he was working with the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra, initially as the Concertmaster ("leader") and the between 1923 and 1927 as a solo viola player.
In January 1933 the NSDAP (Nazi Party) took power and quickly set about creating a one-party state out of Germany. During the ensuing twelve years Gerster's relationship with the Hitler regime was often collaborative, but at other times problematic. He composed a "Consecration piece" for the regime in 1933 as well as a "battle hymn" for (Nazi) German Christian organisation entitled "You should burn", setting a text by Baldur von Schirach. In 1936 there was a popular song entitled "The stranger bride" and a choral song "German airmen".
Gerster's Opera "The Witches of Passau" had its first performance in Düsseldorf in 1941. In 1943 the National Office for Music Production (die Reichsstelle für Musikbearbeitung) gave him a 50,000 Mark contract to compose his opera "The Nutter" ("Rappelkopf") which was later renamed, less colloquially, "The enchanted self" ("Das verzauberte Ich").
He died on 31 August 1969, aged 72, in Borsdorf (Leipzig), Saxony.