KÜnneke, Eduard, noted German composer; b. Emmerich-am- Rhein, Jan. 27, 1885; d. Berlin, Oct. 27, 1953. He was a student of Bruch at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. After composing the operas Robins Ende (Mannheim, May 5, 1909) and Coeur-As (Dresden, Nov. 1913), he found his métier as a composer of light theater works in Berlin. He attracted favorable notice with his Singspiel Das Dorf ohne Glocke (April 5, 1919). The success of his operettas Der Vielgeliebte (Oct. 17, 1919) and Wenn Liebe erwacht (Sept. 3, 1920) was followed by the outstanding reception accorded his Der Vetter aus Dingsda (April 15, 1921). It quickly entered the repertoire as a favorite of the German operetta stage, and was heard all over the globe. After bringing out Die Ehe im Kreise (Nov. 2, 1921), Verliebte Leute (April 15, 1922), and Casino-Girl (Sept. 15, 1923), he failed to find success in N.Y. with the pasticcio The Love Song (Jan. 13, 1925) and Mayflowers (Nov. 24, 1925). In the interim, he brought out Die hellblauen Schwestern (Berlin, Aug. 22, 1925) with considerable success. After the failure in London of Riki-Tiki (April 16, 1926), he again found success with Lady Hamilton (Breslau, Feb. 25, 1926). His Die blonde Liselott (Altenburg, Dec. 25, 1927) became better known in its revised version as Liselott (Berlin, Feb. 17, 1932). After bringing out Die singende Venus (Breslau, June 9, 1928) and Der Tenor der Herzogin (Prague, Feb. 8, 1931), Kimneke composed the opera Nadja (Kassel, 1931). Returning to the operetta, he then scored the 2nd triumph of his career when he composed Glückliche Reise (Berlin, Nov. 23, 1932). It too became a repertoire score of the German operetta stage. Although he never equalled this 2nd success, he went on to compose a number of well-crafted scores, including Die Fahrt in die Jugend (Zürich, March 26, 1933), Die lockende Flamme (Berlin, Dec. 25, 1933), Klein Dornt (Stettin, Oct. 28, 1933), Liebe ohne Grenzen (Vienna, March 29, 1934), Herz über Bord (Zürich, March 30, 1935), Die grosse Sünderin (Berlin, Dec. 31, 1935), Zauberin Lola (Dortmund, April 24, 1937), Hochzeit in Samarkand (Berlin, Feb. 14, 1938), Der grosse Name (Düsseldorf, May 14, 1938), Die Wunderbare (Fürth, Jan. 25, 1941), Traumland (Dresden, Nov. 15, 1941), and Hochzeiet mit Erika (Düsseldorf, Aug. 31, 1949). Künneke also composed film scores, orch. works, and piano pieces.
O. Schneidereit, E. K. der Komponist aus Dingsda (Berlin, 1978); V. Karl, E. K. (1885–1953): Komponistenportrait und Werkverzeichnis (Berlin, 1995).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire