Walter Kaufmann (composer)

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Walter Kaufmann (1 April 1907 – 9 September 1984) was a composer, conductor, musicologist, and educator. Born in Karlsbad, Bohemia (at that time part of Austria-Hungary), Kaufmann enjoyed a career that crossed international boundaries, taking him to Berlin, Bombay (now Mumbai), London, and Canada, before he settled in Bloomington, Indiana, USA in 1957. After 1945 he was not allowed to come back to Bohemia because of his German ethnicity. In 1964, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Kaufmann was noted for his study of Asian music, specializing in the music of India, Tibet, and China.

He was the composer of an opera, The Scarlet Letter, which was very well received at its premiere by the Opera Department of the Indiana University School of Music in the early 1960s.

He is also known for composing the signature music for All India Radio in 1936.[1] The tune is still broadcast as the opening sequence of AIR stations across India.

Kaufmann died in 1984 in Bloomington.


  • Altindien (Musikgeschichte in Bildern, Bd. 2 ; Musik des Alterums, Lfg. 8. Leipzig, Deutscher Verlag fur Musik, 1981)
  • Musical Notations of the Orient: Notational Systems of Continental, East, South and Central Asia (Indiana University Humanities Series, no. 60. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1967)
  • Musical References in the Chinese Classics (Detroit, Information Coordinators, 1976)
  • The Ragas of North India (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1968)
  • The Ragas of South India: A Catalogue of Scalar Material (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1976)
  • Selected Musical Terms of Non-Western Cultures: A Notebook-Glossary (Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography, no. 65. Warren, MI, Harmonie Park Press, 1990)
  • Tibetan Buddhist Chant: Musical Notations and Interpretations of a Song Book by the Bkah Brgyud Pa and Sa Skya Pa Sects (Indiana University Humanities Series, no. 70. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1975)


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