Jary's father worked at the Königshütte (Chorzów today) iron works and his mother was a tailor. He planned to become a missionary and went to school at the monastery of the Steyl Missionaries near Neisse (Nysa today) where he discovered his love of music. At the age of 18 he moved to the conservatory at Beuthen. He directed the church choir and started to write his first chamber music works that were transmitted on the radio Gliwice. The city theatre of Neisse and Plauen gave him a position as a second concert master. In 1929 Jary was accepted at the Staatliche Akademische Musikhochschule at Berlin, meanwhile he made money playing as a pianist at cafés or movies. In 1931 he received the Beethoven-prize of Berlin.
During the Nazi years
When Jarczyk delivered his graduation concert on 8 February 1933, he was bullied by members of the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur. Paul Graener, the new director of the Stern’sches Konservatorium denigrated his concert as "the cultural bolshevistic musical stammering of a Polish Jew". Jarczyk had to go underground for some time and used the pseudonyms "Jackie Leeds" for arrangements and "Max Jantzen" for chansons. Recognizing that his name was a hindrance to his career, he changed it to Michael Jary.
Symphonic music was his strength. But after he composed his first musical score for a movie,Die große und die kleine Welt, he quickly became a cult favourite among professional musicians. The possibilities of multiple track recording caught his interest. Swing-arrangements and Jazz were part of his repertoire in spite of governmental diktats. Among other projects he composed a cyclus of musical zodiac interpretations. He became an expert in jazz and swing during the thirties.
In 1938 he had his first popular music hit, Roter Mohn. As the director of the Szymanowski-Gedächtniskonzertes in Berlin he was invited by Ernest Ansermet to Geneva. However, the Nazi authorities denied him an exit visa. Forced to stay in Germany, he wrote, often with the lyricist Bruno Balz, songs for movies that became hits, including: Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehn and Davon geht die Welt nicht unter.
Shortly before the end of WWII Jary had founded his own ensemble. Just 19 days after the capitulation his group became the basis for the new Radio Berlin Tanzorchester (RBT) in East Berlin. He engaged among others Ilse Werner and Bully Buhlan.
In 1948 he created his own production company, Michael Jary-Produktion, and maintained an office during the fifties in New York. He would have liked to have written musical scores for revue films as he had done in 1943 for the movie Karneval der Liebe. In 1949 he moved to Hamburg, and Jary was very successful as film score followed film score including „Leise rauscht es am Missouri“, „Das machen nur die Beine von Dolores“, „Mäki-Boogie“, „Heut’ liegt was in der Luft“ and others. These songs were interpreted by artists such as Zarah Leander, Rosita Serrano, Evelyn Künneke, Gerhard Wendland, Heinz Rühmann, and Hans Albers.
By the end of the fifties, „Mäki“, as he was called by his friends, restricted his output and shunned cheap movies. For the German entry for the Grand Prix 1960 he composed for Heidi Brühl „Wir wollen niemals auseinandergehn“. Nobody believed in the song, but today it is one of the greatest successes of the history of the German Schlager.
After this personal victory Jary returned to his roots. He composed the musical Nicole, that was first shown in Nürnberg in 1963 and would be celebrated later in Eastern Europe. He settled in his final domicile in Switzerland above the Lake of Lugano. He suffered from three heart attacks in 1973.
Michael Jary died on 12 July 1988 in Munich, the site of his grave is in the Friedhof Ohlsdorf in Hamburg.
- Adventure in Warsaw (1937)
- A Diplomatic Wife (1937)
- All Lies (1938)
- Bachelor's Paradise (1939)
- Goodbye, Franziska (1941)
- Melody of a Great City (1943)
- A Man With Principles? (1943)
- Gabriela (1950)
- Toxi (1952)
- The Zurich Engagement (1957)
- The Heart of St. Pauli (1957)
The beginning of this article is based on the corresponding article of the German Wikipedia from 03-31-2008
- mp3 with text
- Axel Jockwer, Unterhaltungsmusik im 3. Reich. Diss. Konstanz 2004 http://w3.ub.uni-konstanz.de/v13/volltexte/2005/1474//pdf/Jockwer.pdf
- Michael Jary in the German National Library catalogue
- Michael Jary at the Internet Movie Database