The German composer, Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling, was the son of a chemical manufacturer. He embarked upon his musical studies in 1922, first in Munich and later in Cologne under Walter Braunfels, Philipp Jarnach, Karl Ehrenberg and Heinrich Boell, with several extended breaks in Italy. From 1927 to 1929, he studied in Ried under Heinrich Kaminski (who also taught Carl Orff), with whom he kept up a close relationship.
From 1929 to 1935 Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling was organ teacher and choirmaster in Innsbruck. In 1938, he obtained a teaching position at the Musikhochschule in Berlin (now the Berlin University of the Arts); in 1955 he became professor there, and in 1969 head of the composition department. He toured the USA, Japan and Korea, guest professor in Seoul.
A devout Catholic, Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling's music was often inspired by religious and spiritual themes. His tonal language follows in the tradition of J.S. Bach and is strongly influenced by that of his teacher Heinrich Kaminski. His first success was with Partita for orchestra (1935). After after the war, he turned to large-scale compositions again, such as Introduction and Fugue for string orchestra (premiered in 1949 by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sergiu Celibidache), the Concert for violin and orchestra (1953), the Sinfonia diatonica for a small orchestra (1957), Largo for trumpet and orchestra (1957) and the Symphony in C (1963). His best known work is the Cantata Die Botschaft ("The Commission" or "The Message"), composed between 1979 and 1982, although he also composed a wide range of orchestral, chamber (including Quintet on an theme by Padre Martini for winds and piano) and choral works, as well as songs and organ and piano music (including Piano Sonata, 1968).
His son is the German politician Christian Schwarz-Schilling.