Feedback
Universal Edition - Wolfgang Rihm – Biography

Wolfgang Rihm
*13.03.1952

Future Performances

Jakob Lenz
25.10.2014, Stuttgart (D)
Jakob Lenz
30.10.2014, Stuttgart (D)
Jakob Lenz
02.11.2014, Stuttgart (D)
Jakob Lenz
05.11.2014, Stuttgart (D)
Sub-Kontur
07.11.2014, Frankfurt am Main (D)

News

  • 17.10.2014
    Klangforum Wien: Sound as Will
    Klangforum Wien: Sound as Will

    Here's a look at the rehearsals of Wolfgang Rihm’s Sound As Will, which will be performed for t [...]

  • 03.10.2014
    The Examiner reviews Rihm’s Harzreise im Winter
    The Examiner reviews Rihm’s Harzreise im Winter

    Read about the evenings programme, which “amounted to a journey through Goethe’s poetic achie [...]

  • Musikfest Berlin
    21.08.2014
    Wolfgang Rihm at the Musikfest Berlin
    Wolfgang Rihm at the Musikfest Berlin

    7 works by Wolfgang Rihm will be performed at this year’s Musikfest Berlin (2 until 22 Septembe [...]

  • 17.09.2014
    Rihm’s Trio Concerto premièred at the Musikfest Berlin
    Rihm’s Trio Concerto premièred at the Musikfest Berlin

    The performance of Transitus forms a prelude to the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Trio Con [...]

  • 12.09.2014
    The Arditti Quartet at 40
    The Arditti Quartet at 40

    In the second episode of Hear and Now’s “The Arditti Quartet at 40” the quartet performs, a [...]

  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang Schaufler
    21.07.2014
    Salzburg contemporary: Wolfgang Rihm
    Salzburg contemporary: Wolfgang Rihm

    One world première and two Austrian premières by Wolfgang Rihm will be presented at this year [...]

  • 05.09.2014
    Transitus in Cologne
    Transitus in Cologne

    Transitus was commissioned by La Scala in Milan with the request that it should allude to the wor [...]

  • Lucerne Festival
    12.08.2014
    Midori and Dohr perform Staud and Rihm in Lucerne
    Midori and Dohr perform Staud and Rihm in Lucerne

    Almost 20 works from the UE catalogue will be performed at this year’s Lucerne Festival (15 Aug [...]

  • 27.08.2014
    Barto and Eschenbach première Rihm
    Barto and Eschenbach première Rihm

    Composer Wolfgang Rihm, pianist Tzimon Barto and conductor Christoph Eschenbach at the general re [...]

  • 21.08.2014
    Rihm’s Horn Concerto premièred by Stefan Dohr
    Rihm’s Horn Concerto premièred by Stefan Dohr

    For Wolfgang Rihm the horn is the “instrument of melos” par excellence. He has now written a [...]

  • 28.05.2014
    Wolfgang Rihm: Goethe’s Harzreise im Winter
    Wolfgang Rihm: Goethe’s Harzreise im Winter

    Wolfgang Rihm’s Harzreise im Winter will be premièred at this year’s Mozartfest Würzburg by [...]

  • 08.08.2014
    Will Sound More Again
    Will Sound More Again

    Wolfgang Rihm’s Will Sound More Again for ensemble will be performed today at the Darmstadt Int [...]

  • 09.07.2014
    Wolfgang Rihm awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music
    Wolfgang Rihm awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music

    Wolfgang Rihm has been awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music 2014. This is the s [...]

  • 11.06.2014
    Tom Service and Harry Vogt on the Witten New Music Days
    Tom Service and Harry Vogt on the Witten New Music Days

    Wolfgang Rihm’s In Verbundenheit, which is dedicated to the Arditti Quartet, was premièred on [...]

  • 05.05.2014
    Rihm’s Transitus at La Scala
    Rihm’s Transitus at La Scala

    Wolfgang Rihm’s Transitus will be premièred tonight at La Scala by R [...]

  • Wolfgang Rihm
    11.04.2014
    Rihm in Salzburg
    Rihm in Salzburg

    Three works by Rihm will be performed at this year’s Salzburg Easter Festival, [...]

  • 01.10.2013
    Rihm’s Conquest of Mexico in Spain
    Rihm’s Conquest of Mexico in Spain
    Wolfgang Rihm’s The Conquest of Mexico will be performed for the first time in Spain on 9 October. [...]
  • Yordan Kamdzhalov (c) Amit Katzir
    23.01.2013
    New production of Rihm’s Dionysos
    New production of Rihm’s Dionysos
    The new production of Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos takes place on 8 February at the Neuer Saal of the [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition
    20.08.2012
    Rihm: Nähe fern cycle
    Rihm: Nähe fern cycle
    Wolfgang Rihm has completed his Nähe fern cycle. Now the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, which commissi [...]
  • Stage design by Jonathan Meese (c) Courtesy Jonathan Meese.Com
    06.07.2012
    German première of Rihm’s Dionysos
    German première of Rihm’s Dionysos
    Wolfgang Rihm’s latest music theatre work Dionysos, which was premièred at the Salzburg Festival [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition
    29.06.2012
    Rihm: Pater noster for mixed choir a cappella
    Rihm: Pater noster for mixed choir a cappella
    On 30 June Wolfgang Rihm's early work Pater noster for mixed choir a cappella will receive its world [...]
  • Dionysos design by Jonathan Meese
    07.06.2011
    Rihm’s Dionysos in Amsterdam
    Rihm’s Dionysos in Amsterdam
    From 8 until 22 June Wolfgang Rihm’s opera fantasy Dionysos comes to Amsterdam in the Dutch premi [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition / Eric Marinitsch
    12.06.2012
    Rihm: Nähe fern cycle
    Rihm: Nähe fern cycle
    With the world première of the fourth part on 13 June Wolfgang Rihm has now concluded his Nähe fer [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition/Eric Marinitsch
    19.04.2012
    Rihm: The Conquest of Mexico at the Saarland State Theatre
    Rihm: The Conquest of Mexico at the Saarland State Theatre
    This April the Saarland State Theatre continues the celebrations of Wolfgang Rihm’s 60th birthday [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm at 60
    13.03.2012
    Wolfgang Rihm at 60
    Wolfgang Rihm at 60
    On 13 March Wolfgang Rihm celebrates his 60th birthday. The breadth of his output can be experienced [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition/Eric Marinitsch
    16.04.2012
    Rihm: Jakob Lenz in London
    Rihm: Jakob Lenz in London
    The English National Opera gives the first performance of a new English translation of Wolfgang Rihm [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition/Eric Marinitsch
    28.02.2012
    Rihm: World première Nähe fern 3
    Rihm: World première Nähe fern 3
    On 29 February Wolfgang Rihm’s cycle Nähe fern (near far) continues in Lucerne. James Gaffigan co [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition / Eric Marinitsch
    12.01.2012
    Rihm@60 – The String Quartets in Paris
    Rihm@60 – The String Quartets in Paris
    Wolfgang Rihm’s 60th birthday year gets off to a great start this January with the 5th String Quar [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition / Eric Marinitsch
    07.12.2011
    Rihm: Das Gehege in Amsterdam
    Rihm: Das Gehege in Amsterdam
    Rihm’s “Nocturnal scene” receives its Dutch première at the ZaterdagMatinee in Amsterdam. [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    28.11.2011
    Rihm: Lichtes Spiel in Paris and London
    Rihm: Lichtes Spiel in Paris and London
    The French première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Lichtes Spiel – a sommer piece for violin and small orch [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    29.10.2011
    Rihm: New work for baritone and ensemble
    Rihm: New work for baritone and ensemble
    Reinbert de Leeuw conducts the world première of Der Maler träumt for baritone and ensemble by Wol [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    24.10.2011
    Rihm: New work for ensemble
    Rihm: New work for ensemble
    On 25 Oct. Wolfgang Rihm’s Will sound more again will recieve its world première in Porto. Emilio [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition / Eric Marinitsch
    19.10.2011
    Rihm: World première of Nähe fern 2
    Rihm: World première of Nähe fern 2
    The second part of Wolfgang Rihm’s series Nähe fern for orchestra is given its world première in [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    25.08.2011
    Orchestral music by Wolfgang Rihm
    Orchestral music by Wolfgang Rihm
    Wolfgang Rihm’s Verwandlung III for orchestra and his Lichtes Spiel for violin and orchestra can b [...]
  • BBC Proms
    28.07.2011
    BBC Proms 2011
    BBC Proms 2011
    The BBC Proms started last week and once again include a wealth of UE works in the many concerts. [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm (c) Universal Edition / Eric Marinitsch
    06.07.2011
    Rihm: New work for soprano and orchestra
    Rihm: New work for soprano and orchestra
    Wolfgang Rihm’s Eine Strasse, Lucile “a scene for soprano and orchestra” (after Georg Büchner [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    22.06.2011
    Rihm: new work for orchestra
    Rihm: new work for orchestra
    On 22 June Rihm’s new work for orchestra – Nähe fern 1, ‘answers to Brahms’ – will be hea [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    14.04.2011
    Wolfgang Rihm: Two national premières
    Wolfgang Rihm: Two national premières
    Rihm's Das Lesen der Schrift will receive its first Portuguese (Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa d [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    01.04.2011
    World première of Rihm’s ‘Dyade’
    World première of Rihm’s ‘Dyade’
    Dyade for violin and double bass is the latest work resulting from the long-standing and creative fr [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm
    17.11.2010
    Wolfgang Rihm: World première of Lichtes Spiel
    Wolfgang Rihm: World première of Lichtes Spiel
    The world première of Wolfgang Rihm's new violin concerto Lichtes Spiel will take place on 18 Nov u [...]
  • 16.12.2010
    Rihm Album of the Year
    Rihm Album of the Year
    Wolfgang Rihm's Verwandlungen has been selected by the Sunday Times as the No. 1 Contemporary Album [...]
  • Rihm Interview
    05.11.2010
    Wolfgang Rihm on Dutch music cuts
    Wolfgang Rihm on Dutch music cuts
    Wolfgang Rihm comments on the threatened closure of the Dutch Radio Music Center [...]
  • Wolfgang Rihm © Universal Edition
    19.08.2010
    Golden Lion for Wolfgang Rihm's lifetime achievement
    Golden Lion for Wolfgang Rihm's lifetime achievement
    On 30 September the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement for Music will be awarded to Wolfgang Rihm [...]
  • Stage design, Jonathan Meese © Courtesy Jonathan Meese.Com
    22.07.2010
    World première of Wolfgang Rihm's opera fantasy Dionysos
    World première of Wolfgang Rihm's opera fantasy Dionysos
    Ingo Metzmacher presents the new opera Dionysos by Wolfgang Rihm on 27 Jul at the Salzburg Festival. [...]
 

Wolfgang Rihm

Biography

Wolfgang Rihm was born on 13 March 1952 in Karlsruhe, a city near the French and Swiss borders, at a stone’s throw from Strasbourg and Basel, two of the many places where he and his music are at home. He lives there to this day in a spacious apartment not only full of books and scores – those one takes for granted – but also of paintings by contemporary artists, mainly by Kurt Kocherscheidt, the Austrian painter with whom Rihm was befriended and to whom he has dedicated a number of works.

Rihm is composer, professor of composition at the Music Academy of his native city (where his students included Vykintas Baltakas and Jörg Widmann), a remarkable writer on music with several books to his name, including collections of his articles and interviews. He also sits on a number of influential committees in Germany and has a say in decisions affecting the working conditions of his fellow musicians.

No doubt about it: Wolfgang Rihm is a unique phenomenon, larger than life. His knowledge of music (the art and craft of composition as well as of music history from ancient times up to the present day) is vast. But he also seems to know everything worth knowing about literature, painting, architecture, philosophy and he freely draws on those as sources of inspiration. A look at the texts he has set to music is an indication of the breadth of his culture: from Homer through Hölderlin and Goethe to Rilke, Botho Strauss and Durs Grünbein.

The world he has created with his compositions which now outnumber 400 works is a veritable universe. As such, it cannot be pidgeonholed. To paraphrase the title of a well-known British film on Thomas More, he is a composer for all seasons. Rihm has written 'new music' as it is commonly called and some of his titles have become signposts in the history of post-war music. Soloists, chamber groups and orchestras programme these works as a matter of course now, they have become an integral part of the repertoire (Jagden und Formen, Chiffre-cycle, Pol - Kolchis - Nucleus). Of similar significance are the compositions which take their cue, as it were, from music of past centuries: oratorios with Johann Sebastian Bach as a point of reference (Deus Passus), orchestral pieces of Brahmsian sound and gesture (Ernster Gesang, Das Lesen der Schrift), chamber music in the wake of Robert Schumann (Fremde Szenen).

Already at the age of 25, he composed a chamber opera (Jakob Lenz) that has since proved itself as probably the most often produced piece of contemporary music theatre in Germany. Jakob Lenz has been followed by a series of large-scale operas (Die Hamletmaschine, Die Eroberung von Mexico, Das Gehege) as well as a work of experimental music theatre (Séraphin).

Wolfgang Rihm is one of the foremost song composers of our times; his string quartets (of which there are far more than the twelve numbered ones) are often presented in cycles by a wide range of groups.

Rihm is a composer who puts a giant question-mark over whatever he is doing. Each new work is an answer to the question raised by the previous piece; each new work poses questions which he will seek a reply to in the composition to be written next. There come about work cycles, work families which form a web with other cycles and individual pieces – a web only to be grasped by the initiated. Everything is in permanent growth, work never stops, new compositions are produced, brought into intriguing relationships with other works, revised and supplemented.

If you consider that he is also a remarkable draughtsman and if you read the poem he has written for/about the trumpet concerto Marsyas, you will have to admit that Wolfgang Rihm is indeed larger than life.


1952 – Born March 13th in Karlsruhe, south-west Germany

1963 – First compositions

1968-1972 – Secondary School (Humanistisches Gymnasium); simultaneously studies in composition at the Karlsruhe Music Academy (Eugen Werner Velte);
further composition studies with Wolfgang Fortner and Humphrey Searle

1970 – Attends the Darmstadt Summer Courses for the first time

1972 – Completes secondary school studies, diploma in composition, Karlsruhe Music Academy

1972/1973 – Composition studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne

1973-1976 – Composition studies with Klaus Huber and musicological studies with Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht in Freiburg

1973-1978 – Teaches at the Karlsruhe Music Academy

1974 – Awarded the City of Stuttgart Prize

1975 – Awarded the City of Mannheim Prize

1976Faust und Yorick - chamber opera No 1 (Jean Tardieu/Frithjof Haas)

1977/1978 Jakob Lenz - chamber opera No 2 (Georg Büchner/Michael Frühling)

1978 – Awarded Berlin Art Prize Fellowship; Kranichstein Music Prize Darmstadt;
Reinhold-Schneider Prize Freiburg

since 1978 – Lecturer at the Darmstadt Summer Courses

1979 – Receives Fellowship Award of the City of Hamburg

1979/1980 – German Art Academy Fellowship at the Villa Massimo in Rome

1981 – Awarded the City of Bonn Beethoven Prize. Teaches at the Munich Music Academy

since 1982 – Presidium member, German Association of Composers

1983 – Fellowship at the Cité des Arts in Paris

1983/1986Die Hamletmaschine, opera, (Heiner Müller/Rihm)

1984/1985 – Fellow of the Berlin Science Institute, Presidium member, German Music Council

1984-1989 – Co-editor of the music journal Melos

1984-1989 – Musical advisor, Deutsche Oper Berlin

since 1985 – Professor for composition at the Karlsruhe Music Academy (successor of Professor Velte).
Member of the advisory council of the Heinrich Strobel Institute, South-West German Radio Baden-Baden

1986 – Awarded the Rolf Liebermann Prize for the opera Hamletmaschine

1986/87Oedipus, opera, (text by Rihm after Sophokles, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, H. Müller)

1987/91Die Eroberung von Mexico (The Conquest of Mexico), opera, (Antonin Artaud/Rihm)

since 1989 – Member of the Board of Directors, GEMA

1989 – Awarded German Distinguished Service Cross

1990–93 – Musical advisor to the Centre for Art and Media Technologies in Karlsruhe (ZKM)

1991 – Guest speaker at the opening ceremony of the Salzburg Festival.
Member, Academy of the Arts in the cities of Munich, Berlin and Mannheim

1994Séraphin, ‘an attempt at music theatre/instruments, voices...’ World première  in Frankfurt;
February: Big Rihm-Portrait (35 works) at the Éclat Festival, Days for New Music, Stuttgart

1997 – Awarded the Prix de Composition Musical de la Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco;
Composer-in-residence at the Festival Lucerne

1998 – Awarded the Jacob Burckhardt Prize of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Foundation;
Honorary Doctorate of Freie Universität Berlin

2000 – Awarded the Bach Prize of the City of Hamburg;
Composer-in-residence at the Salzburg Festival and the Musica Festival in Strasbourg

2001 – Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Jagden und Formen
The French Ministry of External Affairs confers the title of 'Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres' on Wolfgang Rihm.

2001/2002 – Large-scale celebration of the composer’s 50th birthday throughout Europe, with several festivals and concert organisations devoting series of concerts to his oeuvre. Numerous world premières.

2003 – The Ernst von Siemens Music Award goes to Wolfgang Rihm. This honour has been formally bestowed upon him on 22 May 2003 at Munich's Cuvilliéstheater.
7 November: Entry in the Golden Book of the town of Karlsruhe

2004 – 8 May: Recipient of the Medal of Merit of Baden-Württemberg/Germany

2006 – 27 October: World première  of the opera Das Gehege (after Botho Strauss' play “Schlusschor”) at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich

2009 – 2 May: World première  of the monodrama Proserpina at Rokoko Theatre Schwetzingen (Germany)

2010 – 27 July: World première  of the opera Dionysos (an operatic fantasia based on texts by Friedrich Nietzsche, libretto by the composer) at the Salzburg Festival

2010 – 30 September: Awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement for the Music sectors of the Biennale di Venezia

2010 – 18 November: World première of Lichtes Spiel for violin and small orchestra at the Avery Fisher Hall New York

2011 – Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

2011 – 15 January: World première of Will Sound More for ensemble at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt am Main

2011 – 03 April: World première of Dyade for violin and double bass at the Avery Fisher Hall New York

2011 – 22 June: World première of Nähe fern 1 for orchestra at the KKL Luzern

2011 – 09 July: World première of Eine Strasse, Lucile for soprano and orchestra at Karlsruhe

2011 – 19 October: World première of Nähe fern 2 for orchestra at the KKL Luzern

2011 – 25 October: World première of Will Sound More Again for ensemble

2011 – 29 October: World première of Der Maler träumt for baritone und ensemble

2011 – awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

2012 29 February: World première of Nähe fern 3 for orchestra

2012 13 June: World première of Nähe fern 4 for orchestra

2012 20 August: World première of „Dämmrung senkte sich von oben“ for baritone and orchestra at the KKL Luzern

2012 – receives the order Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts

2013 – 10 February: World première of Epilog for string quintet at the Eclat Festival Stuttgart

2013 – 5 April: Opening of the Wolfgang-Rihm-Forum at the University of Music in Karlsruhe

2013 – 18 April: appointed Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres

2013 – 27 April: World première of Stille Feste for choir and orchestra in Stuttgart

2013 – 23 June: World première of A Tribute for orchestra

2013 – 20 October: World première of IN-SCHRIFT 2 for orchestra

2013 – 20 Nov: World première of Verwandlung 5 for orchestra

2013/2014 – Capell-Compositeur at the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

2014 – 10 May: world première of Transitus at the Teatro alla Scala (cond. Riccardo Chailly)

2014 – 4 June: world première of Verwandlung 6 at the Philharmonie Essen

2014 – 6 October: awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany

2014 – 6 November: awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music 2014

Wolfgang Rihm lives in Karlsruhe and Berlin.