In Unser kurzes Leben © DEFA-Stiftung, Klaus Goldmann
Christian Steyer has acted in over fifty films since the early 1970s, when he met with immediate success and became one of East Germany’s heartthrobs on the silver screen. Director Lothar Warneke cast him in his first role in Es ist eine alte Geschichte while he was still studying at the Academy for Performing Arts in Berlin-Schöneweide.
In rapid succession, Steyer then appeared as the unfaithful lover in the GDR classic, Die Legende von Paul und Paula (dir. Heiner Carow), as the romantic figure who goes to see the world in Für die Liebe noch zu mager (dir. Bernhard Stephan), and as the trumpet player Lene in Die Taube auf dem Dach (dir. Iris Gusner). Recently he also appeared in Tom Tykwer’s love story Drei, which premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.
Despite his success as a movie actor, Steyer's first love was music. Raised in a musical family, as a child he aspired to "become Mozart": at the age of 10 he was playing the organ for Sunday services in his father's church, and at 13 he was accepted into the advanced children's class at the Academy of Music in Leipzig.
During high school, he also got interested in composition, improvisation and theater. Performing chansons and gospel songs, he met and then studied with the French chansonnière Fania Fénélon—a former member of the women's orchestra at Auschwitz—who lived in the GDR. In the mid-1960s, he studied piano at the Music Academies in Leipzig and then Dresden.
Steyer's professional career as a musician and composer began in the 1970s. He was one of the founding members of the East German rock band Karat and played the piano for the famous popular singer, Frank Schöbel. His unusual compositions, sometimes using homemade instruments, were used in many films; he also wrote full scores for twelve East German DEFA productions, some of them in close collaboration with director Helmut Dziuba.
Since 1993, Christian Steyer has been teaching at the Academy of Music in Berlin. His choir music composition, presented at the "Urban Plant" pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, has brought him international attention.
[See also: christiansteyer.de]
Festivals & Awards:
|1967||Radio GDR Special Prize, second GDR Chanson and Song Festival|
Bibliography & More:
Interview: The Multi-Talented Christian Steyer. Amherst, MA: DEFA Film Library Newsletter, Nov. 2010.
Steyer, Christian. Am Anfang war der Baum – Legenden aus Amazonien. Leipzig: Buchfunk-Verlag, 2011. (Audio Book)
Steyer, Christian. Vom kleinen Storch der Vater. Leipzig: Faber & Faber, 2007
(A = Actor | C = Composer)
|2013||Im Alleingang – Elemente des Zweifels (Going Solo: Elements of Doubt, TV, A)|
|2013||Die kleine Meerjungfrau (The Little Mermaid, TV, A)|
|2012||Die Abenteuer des Huck Finn (The Adventures of Huck Finn, A)|
|2010||Drei (Three, A, C)|
|2007||Hände weg von Mississippi (Hands off Mississippi, A)|
|2005||Playa del futuro (C)|
|2004||Die Blindgänger (The Blind Flyers, C)|
|1998||Zugvögel (Train Birds, C)|
|1997||Das Leben ist eine Baustelle (Life Is All You Get, C)|
|1999||Drei Gauner, ein Baby und die Liebe (Three Crooks, a Baby and Love, TV, A)|
|1994-95||Unser Lehrer Doktor Specht (Our Teacher Dr. Specht, TV series, A)|
|1992||Kinderspiele (Children’s Games, C)|
|1991||Jana und Jan (Jana and Jan, C)|
|1989||Der Magdalenenbaum (The Tree of Magdalena, A)|
|1989||Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love, C)|
|1988||Die Schauspielerin (The Actress, A)|
|1986||Fahrschule (Driving School, C)|
|1985||Jan auf der Zille (Jan on the Barge, C)|
|1985||Lied für Anne (Song for Anne, short film, C)|
|1983||Die vertauschte Königin (The Swapped Queen, C, A)|
|1983||Erscheinen Pflicht (Your Presence is Imperative, C)|
|1982||Taubenjule (Pigeon Jule, C)|
|1982||Sabine Kleist, 7 Jahre (Sabine Kleist, Age 7, C)|
|1981||Bürgschaft für ein Jahr (On Probation, A)|
|1980||Unser kurzes Leben (Our Short Life, A)|
|1980||Der Spiegel des großen Magus (Great Magusʼs Mirror, C)|
|1980||Als Unku Edes Freundin war (When Unku Was Ede’s Friend, C)|
|1978||Leise flehen meine Lieder (My Songs Quietly Implore You, TV, A)|
|1977||Rotschlipse (Red Ties, C)|
|1974||Der Untergang der Emma (The Sinking of Ship Emma, C)|
|1973/2010||Die Taube auf dem Dach (The Dove on the Roof, A)|
|1973||Für die Liebe noch zu mager? (Too Young for Love?, A)|
|1972||Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula, A)|
|1972||Es ist eine alte Geschichte (It's an Old Story, A)|