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Who is Erich A. Collin?

Erich A. Collin: The Mellifluous Voice of the Comedian Harmonists.

Erich A. Collin (1899-1961) was a German-American singer who held the second tenor position in the renowned vocal ensemble, the Comedian Harmonists. His rich, melodious voice and charismatic stage presence captivated audiences worldwide, contributing significantly to the group’s meteoric rise to fame during the 1920s and 1930s.

Early Life and Musical Talent

Born Erich Adolf Max Abraham Collin in Berlin, Germany, on August 26, 1899, Collin’s musical inclinations were evident from an early age. He began piano lessons at the age of six and later developed a passion for singing. His vocal talent was undeniable, and he quickly gained recognition for his sweet, resonant tenor voice.

Joining the Comedian Harmonists

In 1925, Collin’s musical journey took a pivotal turn when he joined the Comedian Harmonists, a group that was already gaining popularity for their sophisticated close harmonies and witty stage antics. Collin’s mellifluous voice perfectly complemented the group’s sound, adding a touch of warmth and expressiveness to their performances.

International Acclaim and Artistic Excellence

The Comedian Harmonists, with Collin as a key member, quickly rose to international stardom. Their unique blend of music and entertainment resonated with audiences worldwide, and they toured extensively throughout Europe and America. Collin’s captivating stage presence and impeccable musicianship further solidified his position as a beloved and respected member of the group.

The Rise of Adversity and Dispersal

The Comedian Harmonists’ success was tragically overshadowed by the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany. Three of the group’s members, including Collin, were Jewish, and they were forced to disband in 1934 due to Nazi anti-Semitism. Collin, along with his fellow Jewish members, sought refuge in different parts of the world.

Life in Exile and Continued Musical Pursuits

Collin found a new home in Los Angeles, California, where he continued to pursue his musical career. He performed as a soloist and also formed a new vocal group, the New York Harmoneers, which continued to perform the Comedian Harmonists’ repertoire. Collin’s passion for music never waned, and he remained an active performer until his death in Los Angeles on April 29, 1961.

A Legacy of Musical Harmony

Erich A. Collin’s life was a testament to the transformative power of music. Despite the challenges he faced, Collin remained dedicated to his craft and continued to share his gift with the world. His mellifluous voice, impeccable musicianship, and captivating stage presence will forever be etched in the annals of musical history.

The Musical about The Comedian Harmonists

Starting performances on Broadway on October 18th is the first and only musical about this singing group – Harmony: A New Musical

The complete Broadway cast includes Chip Zien as Rabbi, Sierra Boggess as Mary, Julie Benko as Ruth, Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey as the Comedian Harmonists, Allison Semmes as Josephine Baker, Andrew O’Shanick as Standartenfϋhrer, Zak Edwards, Dan Hoy, Bruce Landry, Rhonni Rose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kyla Stone, Bronwyn Tarboton, Kate Wesler, Stuart Zagnit, and Lee Zarrett. 

To learn more about Harmony: A New Musical, click here.

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