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Florian Schneider

Florian Schneider-Esleben (7 April 1947 – 30 April 2020)

was a German musician best known as one of the founding
Florian Schneider
members of the electronic band Kraftwerk, performing his role
with the band until his departure in November 2008.

Early life
Departure from Kraftwerk
Death Schneider live in Ferrara, Italy, 2005
Notes Background information
References Birth name Florian Schneider-
External links Esleben
Born 7 April 1947
French occupation zone
Early life in Germany (now
Schneider was born Florian Schneider-Esleben on 7 April
Died 30 April 2020 (aged 73)
1947[1] in the French occupation zone in southern Germany,
near the Bodensee[a] in what would become the state of Genres Electronic · synth-pop ·
Baden-Württemberg in 1952. His parents were Paul electro-pop · art pop ·
Schneider-Esleben, an architect, and his wife Evamaria.[2] His krautrock · avant-garde
family moved to Düsseldorf when he was three years old.[3][4] Occupation(s) Musician · singer
Instruments Synthesizer · vocals ·
Career guitar · flute ·
saxophone · drums ·
Florian Schneider-Esleben founded Kraftwerk with Ralf percussion · violin
Hütter in 1970.[5] They met in 1968 while studying at the
Academy of Arts in Remscheid, then at the Robert Schumann Years active 1968–2008, 2014–2015
Hochschule in Düsseldorf, playing improvisational music Associated acts Kraftwerk ·
together in the ensemble Organisation.[5] Before meeting Organisation · Pissoff
Hütter, Schneider had played with Eberhard Kranemann in the
group Pissoff from 1967 to 1968.[6] From 1968 to 1969, Schneider played flute, with Hütter on Hammond
organ, Kranemann on bass and Paul Lovens on drums.[7]

Originally, Schneider's main instrument was the flute, which he would treat using electronic effects,[8]
including tape echo, ring modulation, pitch-to-voltage converters, fuzz and wah-wah, allowing him to use
his flute as a bass instrument. He also played violin (similarly treated), electric guitar (including slide
guitar), and made use of synthesizers (both as a melodic instrument and as a sound processor).[5] Later, he
also created his own electronic flute instrument. After the release of Kraftwerk's 1974 album, Autobahn, his
use of acoustic instruments diminished.[8]

David Bowie titled his "Heroes" instrumental track "V-2 Schneider" after Schneider,[9] and was heavily
influenced by Kraftwerk's sound during his "Berlin period" in the late 1970s.[8]

Schneider, speaking in 1991, said: "I had studied seriously up to a certain level, then I found it boring; I
looked for other things, I found that the flute was too limiting... Soon I bought a microphone, then
loudspeakers, then an echo, then a synthesizer. Much later I threw the flute away; it was a sort of process."[3]
Although he had limited keyboard technique, he apparently preferred to trigger the synth sounds through a
keyboard (later, developments in sequencing limited the need for hands-on playing).[10]

Schneider's approach was concentrated on sound design (in an interview in 2005, Hütter called him a "sound
fetishist")[11] and vocoding/speech-synthesis. One patented implementation of the latter was christened the
Robovox, a distinctive feature of the Kraftwerk sound.[10] Hütter said of Schneider's approach:

He is a sound perfectionist, so, if the sound isn’t up to a certain standard, he doesn’t want to do
it. With electronic music there’s no necessity ever to leave the studio. You could keep making
records and sending them out. Why put so much energy into travel, spending time in airports, in
waiting halls, in backstage areas, being like an animal, just for two hours of a concert? But now,
with the Kling Klang studio on tour with us, we work in the afternoon, we do soundchecks, we
compose, we put down new ideas and computer graphics. There’s always so much to do, and
we do make progress.[11]

Schneider was also known for his comical, enigmatic interviews, although he only seldom gave permission
to be interviewed.

In 2015, Schneider and Dan Lacksman, with the help of Uwe Schmidt, released an electronic ode, "Stop
Plastic Pollution", for ocean environment conservation as part of the "Parley for the Oceans" campaign.[12]

Departure from Kraftwerk

Schneider did not perform on any of the dates of the Kraftwerk 2008 world tour, with his last performance
with the band being in November 2006 in Spain. His position onstage was subsequently filled by Stefan
Pfaffe, an associate working for the band as a video technician.[13] According to a close associate of the
group, Schneider left Kraftwerk in November 2008.[14] On 6 January 2009, NME confirmed Schneider's

Schneider died from cancer on 30 April 2020[16][17] at the age of 73, having suffered from the illness for a
short time.[5][18]

a. Bruchhäuser records his birthplace as Öhningen, but other sources only specify the Bodensee
1. Barr, Tim (31 August 2013). Kraftwerk: from Dusseldorf to the Future With Love. Random
House. p. 25.
2. Weisbeck, Markus (21 August 2015). "The Model" ( Retrieved 7 May 2020.
3. Bussy, Pascal (1993). Man, Machine and Music. SAF. pp. 15–17.
4. Bruchhäuser, Wilfried W. (1985). Komponisten der Gegenwart im Deutschen Komponisten-
Verband: ein Handbuch [Contemporary composers in the German Composers Association: a
handbook] (in German). German Composers Association. p. 650.
5. Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (6 May 2020). "Florian Schneider, Kraftwerk co-founder, dies aged
73" (
ies-aged-73). The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
6. Kranemann, Eberhard (1 May 2002). "Kraftwerk" (
Eberhard Kranemann. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
7. Toop, David (2016). Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom:
Before 1970. London: Bloomsbury Press. p. 201.
8. Eede, Christian (6 May 2020). "RIP Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider" (
les/28219-florian-schneider-kraftwerk-rip). The Quietus. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
9. Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record. p. 92.
ISBN 0906008255.
10. Wilson, Scott (24 June 2017). "7 pieces of gear that prove Kraftwerk are technological
trailblazers" (
Fact Mag. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
11. "MOJO magazine - Ralf Hütter - August 2005" (
tp:// Technopop. 28 January 2006. Archived
from the original ( on 28 March 2007.
Jones, Daisy (8 December 2015). "Kraftwerk's co-founder made this track to save the
oceans" (
article/28760/1/kraftwerk-s-co-founder-made-this-track-to-save-the-oceans). Dazed.
Internet Archive: Dazed Media. Archived from the original (
sic/article/28760/1/kraftwerk-s-co-founder-made-this-track-to-save-the-oceans) on 22 April
2016. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
Roland, Mark (31 December 2015). "Florian Schneider and Dan Lacksman" (
an-lacksman/). Electronic Sound. Pam Communications. Archived from the original (https:// on 12 March 2016.
Retrieved 27 October 2017.
13. Kelly, Emma (6 May 2020). "Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider dies aged 73" (https://metro.c Metro.
Retrieved 6 May 2020.
14. "Kraftwerk back in studio" (
rk-back-in-studio-437516.html). Irish Examiner. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
15. "Kraftwerk co-founder quits band" ( NME. 6
January 2009. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
16. Weber, Julian (6 May 2020). "Nachruf auf Florian Schneider-Esleben: Fahr'n, fahr'n, fahr'n" (htt
ps://!5683501/) [Obituary of Florian Schneider-
Esleben: Fahr'n, fahr'n, fahr'n]. (in German). Retrieved 7 May 2020.
17. "Elektro-Pionier Kraftwerk-Mitgründer Florian Schneider-Esleben gestorben" (https://www.mdr.
de/kultur/kraftwerk-florian-schneider-esleben-gestorben-100.html) [Electro pioneer, Kraftwerk
founder Florian Schneider-Esleben has died]. MDR (in German). 6 May 2020. Retrieved 7 May
"Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider dies at 73" (
t-arts-52564281). BBC News. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
Alvarez, Bruno (6 May 2020). "Florian Schneider, une légende de la musique électronique,
est décédé" (
e-la-musique-electronique-est-decede-6826824) [Florian Schneider, electronic music
legend, dies]. Ouest-France (in French). Retrieved 6 May 2020.
Chan, Anna (6 May 2020). "Kraftwerk Co-Founder Florian Schneider Dies at Age 73" (http
ounder-dies). Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
"Kraftwerk: Florian Schneider-Esleben ist tot" (
k-florian-schneider-esleben-gestorben-1.4899789) [Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider-
Esleben is dead]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). 6 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.

External links
Literature by and about Florian Schneider (
ch&cqlMode=true&query=idn%3D124325726) in the German National Library catalogue
Florian Schneider ( discography at Discogs

Brazilian non-interview with Florian Schneider - 1998 (

J-KypkBk) on YouTube
Che ill von Guevara & Don Schneider - Viva2 interview 2001 (
v=RFKMRqhfBeI) on YouTube
Florian Schneider at MusikMesse 2009 - Frankfurt (
qDdqO0) on YouTube

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This page was last edited on 7 May 2020, at 14:24 (UTC).

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