Robert Lienau Musikverlag and Wilhelm Petersen Society work together in supporting the spreading of his music. Petersen’s compositions fit perfectly in the publishing program, here appeared among others works of his contemporaries Paul Juon and Hans Chemin-Petit.
Wilhelm Petersen was in his lifetime an important and well-known personality of the city of Darmstadt. Petersen was born in Athens on March 15, 1890. His father was court chaplain of King George I of Greece. A year later the family moved back to Germany, where his father became pastor of the city parish in Darmstadt from 1892. 1908 Wilhelm Petersen went to Munich to study. He was poetically talented and joined the poet circle of Stefan George. He studied composition with Friedrich Klose and Rudolf Louis and conducting with Felix Mottl. He achieved his first major success with the premiere of his composition Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 3 at the Composer Festival of the General German Music Association in Nuremberg in 1921. In 1926 he was awarded the Hessian Georg Büchner Prize for one of his early compositions. In addition to his work as a composer, he pursued an academic career and received a professorship at the Academy of Music in Mannheim in 1935.
1930 his remarkable Great Mass Op. 27 was premiered under Karl Böhm in Darmstadt, reaching several performances within Germany. 1937 further performances of the Mass were banned by the Nazis. The last major premiere in Petersen’s life was in Darmstadt in 1941, the regarded opera “The Golden Pot” after E.T.A. Hoffmann, for which he wrote also the libretto. Between 1940 and 1950 he composed several works for chamber music, concertos and orchestral suites and subsequently gave up his work as a composer.