Helmut May, German Violinist, Composer, Music Editor, and Writer (1929-2013)

In many ways, Helmut May’s career runs parallel to Heinz Moehn’s. Like Moehn, May spent a number of years working at Schott as a music editor, though he also saw the publication of his own violin concerto, Spiritual Concerto: “I Want to Die Easy,” with the company in 1980. His other compositions, including several orchestral and chamber works and one choral work, remain unpublished, though some have been made available by Tobias Broeker on his website “The 20th-Century Violin Concertante.” May was also very involved in the local performance community: as a violinist, he was a founding member of the Wiesbadener Kammerorchester (Wiesbaden Chamber Orchestra) in 1958, and remained in the concertmaster post with that ensemble for five decades. Late in life, he published several novels.

That May and Moehn were fond of each other (though somewhat formal in their communications) is suggested by a letter from May written on 13 January 1961. After sharing the news that he had recently accepted a position at Schott, rather than joining Moehn at Bärenreiter, he asks Moehn not to be annoyed with him and requests that “if you happen to have a good photo of yourself, then send me one, since you definitely belong in our family album.” (“Wenn Sie einmal ein gutes Foto von sich haben, so schicken Sie mir eins, denn Sie gebören auf jeden Fall im unser Familienalbum.”)

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Broeker, Tobias. “Helmut May Archive.” The 20th Century Violin Concertante. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.tobias-broeker.de/rare-manuscripts/m-r/may-helmut/

Broeker, Tobias. “The Forgotten Violin Concertos – Part 7: Helmut May.” Violinist.com. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.violinist.com/blog/classic_tobi/20164/18492/

May, Helmut. W. Helmut W. May to Heinz Moehn, 13 January 1961. Letter.

Milch, Volker. “Bis zuletzt noch kreativ – Nachruf Zum Tod des Wiesbadener Musikers und Autors Helmut May.” Wiesbadener Tagblatt. 8 June 2013.