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Max Raabe

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Max Raabe

Max Raabe
Background information
Birth name Matthias Otto
Born (1962-12-12) December 12, 1962
Lünen, West Germany.
Genres Cabaret, comedy, old style, orchestra
Instruments Vocals, orchestra
Years active 1992–present
Website palast-orchester

Max Raabe (born Matthias Otto,[1] December 12, 1962, Lünen, North Rhine-Westphalia) is a German singer. He is best known as the founder and leader of the Palast Orchester.


  • Career 1
  • Discography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Raabe developed an interest in the sound of German dance and film music of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the songs of the Comedian Harmonists, from seeing old films on television and from his parents' record collection.[2] He formally studied music at the Berlin University of the Arts, intending originally to become a baritone opera singer. He and eleven other students formed the Palast Orchester in 1985. The ensemble initially used music arrangements that Raabe found whilst shopping at various flea markets.[3] The orchestra worked for one year to learn these arrangements without any public engagements or performances.[4] The orchestra first performed publicly at the 1987 Berlin Theaterball, in the lobby as a secondary act, but with such success that the audience left the ballroom to hear the orchestra's performance in the lobby.[5] Raabe and the Palast Orchester had a hit with his 1992 original, Schlager-styled song "Kein Schwein ruft mich an" (literal translation "No pig ever calls me", meaning "No-one ever calls me"), a pop song in 1920s style.

In addition to covers of vintage music, Raabe writes original songs and music, including film music. He and the orchestra have also created covers of modern pop songs in a 1920–1930s band style, including songs by Britney Spears, Tom Jones, and Salt'n'Pepa. Raabe has also made a number of cameo appearances as a stereotypical 1920s and 1930s singer and entertainer in a number of films by German directors, such as Der bewegte Mann (1994; English title "Maybe, Maybe Not"), Werner Herzog's Invincible (2001), and Wenzel Storch's Die Reise ins Glück (2004). His live theatre performances have included a 1994 appearance as Dr. Siedler in the Berlin "Bar jeder Vernunft" version of The White Horse Inn, and 1999 performances as Mack the Knife in Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera alongside Nina Hagen.

Raabe first performed in the USA in Los Angeles in 2004.[6] In 2005, he performed his first concert in New York City's Carnegie Hall and returned for subsequent engagements with the Palast Orchester in 2007[7] and 2010.[8] In 2011, Raabe produced an album, Küssen kann man nicht alleine (You cannot kiss alone), with former new-wave musician and producer Annette Humpe, who also wrote the lyrics.[9] His latest album, also with Humpe, is Für Frauen ist das kein Problem ("It's no problem for women"), released in 2013.


  • Die Männer sind schon die Liebe wert (1988)
  • Kleines Fräulein, einen Augenblick (1989)
  • Ich hör’ so gern Musik (1991)
  • Kein Schwein ruft mich an (1992)
  • Mein kleiner grüner Kaktus (1992)
  • Wintergarten-Edition Live (1996)
  • Dort tanzt Lu-Lu! (1996)
  • Ich hör’ so gern Musik (1996)
  • Bel Ami (1996)
  • Music, Maestro, Please (1996)
  • Die Dreigroschenoper (The Three penny opera) w. HK Gruber, Nina Hagen and Ensemble Modern (1999)
  • 10 Jahre Palast Orchester mit seinem Sänger Max Raabe (1997)
  • Krokodile und andere Hausfreunde (2000)
  • Superhits (2001)
  • Superhits Nummer 2 (2001)
  • Heute Nacht Oder Nie ("Tonight or Never", 2008) – A 2-CD set of the live performance of Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester at Carnegie Hall, November 2007, released on September 23, 2008.)
  • Übers Meer (15.01.2010)
  • Küssen kann man nicht alleine (2011) (with Annette Humpe)
  • Für Frauen ist das kein Problem (2013) (with Annette Humpe)


  1. ^ "Sagen Sie jetzt nichts, Max Raabe".  
  2. ^ "Max Raabe: Der Mann mit dem Palast Orchester".  
  3. ^ Robert Levine (29 November 2005). "'"Keeping the Old Cabaret Alive in the Land of 'Cabaret.  
  4. ^ Ronni Reich (15 April 2011). "Max Raabe and Palast Orchester perform at NJPAC on Sunday".  
  5. ^ Barrymore Laurence Scherer (1 March 2010). "The Wunderbar Max Raabe". Wall Street Journal ( Retrieved 2013-01-16. 
  6. ^ Jason Victor Serinus (2 February 2010). "The Musical Paradox of Max Raabe - An Interview".  
  7. ^ Anthony Tommasini (5 November 2007). "Musical Days of Berlin (the City ... and the Irving)". New York Times ( Retrieved 2013-01-16. 
  8. ^ "Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester Return to Carnegie Hall 3/4". 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  9. ^ Elmar Krekeler (24 January 2011). "Max Raabe und Annette Humpe wollen den Pop retten".  

External links

  • Max Raabe's home page (English and German)
  • Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester on MySpace
  • Opus3 Artists agency page
  • Goethe Institute page on Max Raabe
  • (National Public Radio), 19 October 2008.All Things Considered"Max Raabe's Palast Orchester: Timeless Elegance".
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra page on Max Raabe
  • . 3 December 2005Helnwein Museum, "Marilyn Manson Marries Dita von Teese at Helnwein's Irish Castle. Helnwein is best man
  • All About Jazz, "Max Raabe & Palast Orchester Release and US Tour". September 24, 2008
  • Max Raabe in Israel. Documentary, Germany 2012, Production: BR, Bavarian Broadcasting TV, (in German).
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