Peter Cornelius Bookmark and Share


29 January 1951

Born in a suburb of Vienna (Hadersdorf-Weidlingau) Cornelius initially became a bank clerk. In 1973 he participated in the talent contest show chance of the ORF and took first place with the song ‘I leb in aner Wolk’n’. Subsequently, he was a member of the ensemble of the musical Hair, which toured in Hamburg and Berlin. By 1978, he released several singles and albums on the Polydor label, of which ‘Calafati’ (1978) would achieve notoriety in a later version. A  first succes came in 1980 when he released the album’ Der Kaffee ist fertig’ produced by Michael Cretu. It brought him recognisation in Austria. The following year he took part in the preliminary round to the German Euro Vision Song Contest, where he finished in sixth place with the song  ‘Träumer, Tramps und Clowns’.

With the single ‘Du entschuldige’, he finally succeeded in Germany to have his breakthrough, which gave him huge airplay on German radio stations. The album ‘Zwei’ (which was in fact his fifth album) was again  produced by Michael Cretu and the later members of the synthpop band Moti Special (who would later have a small hit with ‘Don’t be shy’).  During the 1980s, Peter Cornelius established himself as a well known songwriter but he would become more known as a guitarist. In 1990 Peter Cornelius worked as a guitarist on the album Back in Vienna with Georg Danzer.  But the international breakthrough came when he joined Cretu on the Enigma project. It delivered him a Grammy nomination as best guitarist. In 1992 as a joint project Album Cornelius + Cretu, which was sung entirely in German and has a rather high dark / melancholic  tone. The 1993 album  ‘Lieber heut was a return under his own name after a seven-year hiatus.

This was followed again by a long period of session work untill in 2001 was finally released his much acclaimed album ‘Lebenszeichen’. In 2005 he celebrated his 30-year anniversary on stage, in front of 100,000 spectators on the Danube Island Festival in Vienna. In 2008 he released the album Handschrift and 2012, after four year break, the album ‘12 12’.

On the web:

- Peter's official website: http://www.petercornelius.com/index.shtml

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Guus Meeuwis (Netherlands)

Peter Maffay (Germany)

What do we think:

DB: With millions of copies sold of the Enigma albums a lot of Europop music fans will have an album by Peter Cornelius without even knowing it. His guitarwork forms an essential part of the atmospheric sound on those albums but in fact have nothing to do with his solo output. His solowork is more mediocre pop. In the Austropop book Cornelius utters the compliant that the German market pushed him in the Schlager segment while he wants to be known as a popsinger and songwriter. Fact is that indeed he is not the most adventurous musician on the block. His albums are regular well crafted Liedermacher pop albums with mainstream melodies and themes. Good nor bad. Radiofriendly..


- Hampelmann - 1974

- Fleckerlteppich - 1974

- Eine Rose aus Papier - 1976

- Der Kaffee ist fertig - 1980

♪♪♪ - Zwei - 1980

- Reif für die Insel - 1981

- Bevor i geh' / Ohne Filter - 1982

♪♪♪ - Fata Morgana - 1983

- Süchtig - 1984

♪♪♪ - Gegen den Strom - 1986

- CORNELIUS '87 - 1987

- Sensibel - 1988

- Jahreszeiten - 1989

- Cornelius + Cretu - 1992

- Lebenszeichen - 2001

- Schatten und Licht - 2003

- Handschrift - 2008

- 12 neue 12 - 2012
♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided





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