Obituary Friedrich Körner (13.12.1931 - 06.08.2021)

The Institute for Jazz Research mourns the passing of O.HProf. Hofrat Dr. Friedrich Körner, who died on 6 August 2021 at the age of 90.

Without Friedrich Körner's work there would be no jazz research in Graz. He was the director and driving force behind the Institute for Jazz, founded in 1965, and established the Institute for Jazz Research out of it in 1971. He served as director of this Institute for 21 years, building it – with the help of his colleagues – into an internationally recognized center for jazz research while simultaneously establishing jazz research itself as a branch of musicology. His vehicles for these achievements included the periodicals Jazzforschung / Jazz Research and Beiträge zur Jazzforschung / Studies in Jazz Research, which he published with Dieter Glawischnig from 1969 to 1975; jazz research conferences organized by the International Society for Jazz Research, which he founded in 1969, also helped further his goals. The upcoming celebration of the Institute’s 50th anniversary from 18-21 November 2021, and the fact that we are concurrently preparing issue 50/51 of Jazzforschung / Jazz Research, are testament to Körner's efforts at a critical moment, and to his lasting commitment.

That commitment was evident throughout his life: in the 1950s he was the founder and bandleader of the Serenaders and the New Austrian Big Band. He oversaw music activities at the Forum Stadtpark in the 1960s and served for many years as director of the Styrian music school system – and, of course, as a university professor; he maintained contact with 'his' Institute until the end of his life. His networking activities (a requirement of modern university life) were always international in scope, a fact evident in his leadership of the European (later International) Jazz Federation, and as RILM's resident jazz expert.

A classically trained trumpeter, Friedrich Körner's activities in and for jazz had a lasting impact on the music that meant so much to him; it is partially due to him that jazz life in Graz and Austria exists in its present form. He was the originator of an educational and research body that is international in its outlook and continues to contribute substantially to the legitimation of jazz. Jazz musicians, fans and aficionados everywhere – most especially this Institute and all those who work here – are forever in his debt.

André Doehring, Head of the Institute for Jazz Research