The German lyricist and librettist Michael Kunze will receive the lifetime achievement award at the annual German Music Authors' Awards, presented by the German collection society GEMA on April 22 in the Axica building in Berlin.

The 66-year-old had international success with songs of the German girl group Silver Convention, Julio Iglesias, Herbie Mann, Gilbert Bécaud, Lulu and Sister Sledge. Silver Convention's hit "Fly Robin Fly" reached No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.

Kunze translated musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber into the German language, including "Cats," "Phantom of the Opera," "Aspects of Love," and "Sunset Boulevard," as well as Stephen Sondheim's "Company," "Follies," and "Into the Woods."

He is also credited with the German versions of "A Chorus Line," "Little Shop of Horrors," "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and "The Lion King."

Kunze has written his own musicals, too. In 1990, together with Sylvester Levay he produced "Hexen, Hexen", and in 1992, "Elisabeth," which played for more than four years at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. This was followed by "Tanz der Vampire," written by Roman Polanski with music by Jim Steinman, and "Mozart!"

He received 56 gold records, 23 platinum records, the Grammy Award for "Fly Robin Fly" and the ECHO Lifetime Award in 2005.

Moritz Eggert, speaker of the GEMA jury, commented: "Michael Kunze is a true universal talent who represents a complete range of works: musical, opera, pop-songs, theatre, literature, movie and TV."

GEMA's German Music Authors' Awards are presented in 10 categories to composers and lyricists; among them are awards for young talent, dance, jazz, instrumentals and rock/pop. The awards are decided by a jury of GEMA members. The award for the most successful work is decided according to the German Media-Control charts.

GEMA's CEO Dr. Harald Heker said: "Quality is the most important criteria for the award-winners."

Jörg Evers, chairman of the supervisory board of GEMA, added: "The German Music Authors' Award was a big success in the first year 2009 and is a sign of solidarity, cooperative respect and the big vital community of the German music makers."

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