Kraftwerk Co-Founder Florian Schneider Dies at 73

One of the most innovative musicians of all time has passed away.

May 6, 2020

Kraftwerk co-founder and keyboardist Florian Schneider has passed away at the age of 73.

“Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday,” the band said in a statement.

“In the year 1968 Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider started their artistic and musical collaboration. In 1970 they founded their electronic Kling Klang studio in Düsseldorf [Germany] and started the multi-media project Kraftwerk. All the Kraftwerk catalogue albums were conceived and produced there. In 2014 Hütter and Schneider were honoured with the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement award.”

As pioneers of electronic music, Kraftwerk served as an inspiration to musicians across all genres. David Bowie was a noted fan of the band and penned the instrumental song “V-2 Schneider” from his 1977 album Heroes after Schneider.

Schneider’s musical innovations were many with his most well known being the ability to transform his flute to generate any sound he wanted to capture. Applying various electronic effects, Schneider was able to use his flute to create almost any sound he pleased.

Aside from the flute, Schneider played violin, electric guitar, and synthesizer on Kraftwerk’s albums.

His last public performance with Kraftwerk came in November, 2006. He officially left the band in November, 2008.

Schneider was also an avid cyclist with Kraftwerk, recording an album celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France race. The Tour de France Soundtracks was originally released in 2003 and marked the group’s first album of original material in 17 years. The band also released the theme song “Tour de France” in 1983 featuring sampled voices and mechanical sounds found in cycling.

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