On the foundation of the State Institute
Carl Orff had stipulated in his will that his artistic estate be preserved in a foundation in order to preserve and disseminate his spiritual legacy. Liselotte Orff, the composer's widow, who, according to her husband's will, was appointed for life as chairperson of the board of the foundation established in May 1984, conducted the first negotiations on the establishment of a Carl Orff Institute in 1985 with the City of Munich and with the then Bavarian Minister of Culture, Prof. Dr. Hans Maier, who offered his support in developing further ideas.
August Everding also supported the plan to found an institute "to archive and administer the extensive estate of Carl Orff, but also to keep it alive." In his letter to the Minister, the General Director of the Bavarian State Theatres suggested that such an institute be housed in the Prinzregententheater to ensure that the "preservation and care of the legacy and memory of the Bavarian composer and poet Carl Orff would be in the hands of the Free State of Bavaria".
Shortly afterwards, the Minister of Culture presented the ideas for the establishment of a state composers' institute dedicated to Orff to the Bavarian Council of Ministers and immediately received the support of the then Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauß for the project. It was soon possible to "convey to Carl Orff's widow the interest in the establishment of a Carl Orff Institute by the Free State of Bavaria. This was the beginning of the founding of what was later called the "Orff Centre Munich" - to avoid confusion with the Orff Institute in Salzburg - whose sponsorship was taken over by the Free State of Bavaria and whose realisation was secured by providing the "necessary budgetary means for the accommodation, furnishing and operation of the Carl Orff Institute. In the Ministry of Culture, Ministerial Councillor Dr. Dirk Hewig conducted the negotiations with the representatives of the Carl Orff Foundation and drew up the contractual basis to regulate the cooperation between the Foundation, the Bavarian State Library and the Orff Centre to be established.
Between autumn 1988 and the end of 1989, the building at Kaulbachstraße 16, intended as the headquarters of the Orff Centre Munich, was restored and finally occupied in January 1990. In the spring of the same year, the Carl Orff Foundation handed over the composer's artistic-documentary estate (letters, documents on his life, works and performances) to the Orff Centre Munich on permanent loan.
On 10 July 1990, the 95th birthday of the composer, the official opening of the Orff Centre Munich took place in an official act of state in the Max-Joseph-Saal of the Munich Residence by the then Bavarian State Minister for Education and Culture, Science and the Arts, Dr. h. c. Hans Zehetmair, as well as Mrs. Liselotte Orff and the Carl Orff Foundation. The press headlines on the occasion of the opening were "A house for music" and "Students should do research here".
The dramaturge, musician and musicologist Hans Jörg Jans, previously curator at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, was appointed the first director of the newly established Orff Centre.
Since 1 October 2002, the Orff Centre Munich has been directed by the musicologist Dr. Thomas Rösch.