Aksel Schiøtz (1906–1975) was a Danish tenor who was considered one of Europe's leading Lieder singer of post World War II, and later baritone.
Schiøtz was born in Roskilde, Denmark, but grew up in Hellerup near Copenhagen. He studied singing with John Forsell. Having obtained an M.A. in Danish and English in 1930 he taught at various schools in Roskilde and Copenhagen until 1938, when he gave up teaching. In October 1936 he gave his first Lied-recital, and he made his opera début at the Royal Danish Theatre, Copenhagen, in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte in 1939.
In 1945, he suffered a stroke. David Schroeder writes in Our Schubert, "The surgery, following a stroke, should have put an end to his career in 1945, since it left him paralyzed on one side of his face and neck; but with the encouragement of friends and loved ones he relearned how to sing, becoming a baritone instead of a tenor."
At the Glyndebourne Festival in 1946, he alternated with Peter Pears in the part of 'Male Chorus' in Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. More than as an opera singer, however, Schiøtz is remembered for his interpretation of Danish songs and Schubert's and Schumann's Lieder, as well as songs by Carl Michael Bellman. During the Nazi occupation of Denmark (1940–1945), he achieved great popularity for his recording of traditional Danish songs of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
From 1955 to 1958 he served as professor of music at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, later in Toronto, and finally at the University of Colorado, Boulder. From 1968 he was professor in Copenhagen. Schiøtz died in Copenhagen.
After retiring, Schiøtz wrote his The Singer and His Art (Hamish Hamilton, 1971).
Schroeder, David. Our Schubert. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2009. p. 176.
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