THE CURRICULUM VITAE OF
HERR DOKTOR OTTO STOFFENBERGER
Otto Stoffenberger was born in a flat (Ab) at number 8, The Getreidegasse, in Salzburg, Austria. This apartment was situated right next door to the birthplace of another musical phenomenon, Wolfgang, Amadeus Mozart. Otto’s musicality was noticed at an early age. Descendents of families who had lived in the Getreidegasse around 1756, Mozart’s birthday, recalled hearing of the time when the young Mozart was heard crying out in pain, during a particularly severe attack of colic. This, they remarked, sounded uncannily similar to Otto’s first attempts to sing.
Otto’s ability to yodel in perfect pitch, indicated that he might transpire to a career in the arts. As he got older, he took to playing on the linoleum until at the age of ten, when his father bought him his first instrument, an Abyssinian nose flute. The study of this instrument was abruptly curtailed and almost cost Otto his life. Otto was performing with a marching band, participating in a parade supporting the cause of abandoned dogs. He accidently tripped over a stray poodle and fell forward onto his face; the flute became firmly wedged up his nose, necessitating emergency surgery to remove it. Being beyond repair, the flute, not Otto’s nose, this study was abandoned in favour of the piano.
In 1914, Otto was conscripted into the German army, to serve in World War One. After only one week of active service, he was court marshalled for writing lewd, tawdry and unpatriotic songs, to help keep up the morale of his fellow trenchees. He narrowly escaped execution by firing squad, as the German army were saving their ammunition for the forthcoming campaign. Instead he met a worse fate, when the court marshal sentenced him to be exiled in Britain.
Once there, he won a scholarship to study the piano at Trinity College of Music in London. There, he quickly gained notoriety by studying under, and sometimes on top of many of the college professors. Having attained the highest diplomas and praise for his various accomplishments, Otto attended the University of Plymouth and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in music.
By then, the armistice had been declared and Germany had signed everything over to the allies. Seeing a gap in the entertainment market, which was now under the auspices of the Weimar Republic, Otto tried to return to Germany. After several unsuccessful attempts at repatriation, Otto persuaded his friends in the Royal Air Force to parachute him back into the Fatherland. Once there, he freelanced around the cabaret clubs of Berlin as a pianist, composer, arranger and musical director. He would have also worked in television, but it hadn’t been invented yet. It was during this time that he bumped into Titi von Tranz and the rest is history.