Stefan Wolpe In Jerusalem


Stefan Wolpe in Jerusalem

by Austin Clarkson & Yuval Shaked


The night in February of 1933 when the Nazis burned down the Reichstag, Stefan Wolpe was a few blocks away playing the piano and directing the music of a show by the Communist theater company Truppe 1931. The police soon banned the Truppe, and Nazi gangs began rounding up Communists. The Romanian pianist Irma Schoenberg helped Wolpe to escape. As he had no money, she bought him a train ticket for Czechoslovakia, retrieved his scores from his studio, and rendezvoused with him in Zurich. In May Wolpe joined the members of Die Truppe 1931 in Moscow at an international olympiad of workers’ theater groups. Wolpe considered staying in Russia, but went to Vienna to study with Anton Webern during the fall of 1933. After four years of providing music for agitprop troupes, workers’ unions, and Communist dance and theater companies, the sessions with Webern restored Wolpe to his vocation as a composer. When the Austrian authorities threatened to deport him back to Germany, Irma took him to her parents’ home in Bucharest.

She had visited Palestine in 1931 to play a concert for the Music Society in Jerusalem and had friends there. She made arrangements to travel to Palestine and they disembarked at Jaffa in May of 1934. They married in September and took up residence in Jerusalem.

The shock of exile was devastating. Aside from incidental music for a play, a few choral pieces for amateur choirs, and revising some early songs, it was many months before Wolpe could resume composing. From May to July of 1935 he attended Hermann Scherchen’s conducting course in Brussels and there re-established contact with an international community of young musicians. On returning to Palestine he began to teach theory and composition and direct the choir at the Palestine Conservatoire in Jerusalem, while Irma headed the piano department. They had their apartment and studio in the Conservatoire building. The working conditions were far from ideal—classrooms, musical
instruments, teaching aids, and study materials were all in short supply, and salaries were minuscule and rarely paid on time.

Though Wolpe was not a Zionist, he was caught up by the general optimism in the country and by the
sense that all were partners in the pioneering endeavor of building a new society. Young refugees from
Germany who arrived in 1936 on musical certificates gravitated to him. Some already had heard of him as the author of agitprop marching songs, especially the famous Es wird die neue Welt geboren (a.k.a. Olam chadash). Among them were Haim Alexander (composer), Yohanan Boehm (music critic), Herbert Brün (composer), Herbert Zvi Kaplan (music educator), Peter Jona Korn (composer), and Wolf Rosenberg (composer and critic). They said that Wolpe was like a father to them and that he was absolutely fearless in everything he did. He taught them harmony and counterpoint in a most creative manner and taught the modern masters Mahler, Debussy, Schoenberg, Bartók, and Stravinsky before introducing the classics. Herbert Brün said that Wolpe taught them to think critically: “He was opposed to any kind of mean-average state, particularly the mean-average state of ecstasy.” He was both an old master and a political agent — ”He wanted to tell you how to do things, on the other hand he didn’t
want to tell you what to do. He conveyed that dialectics are not only a method of philosophy, and thinking, and logic, and discussion, and argument, but are also a description of dramaturgical behavior.” He demonstrated to them that anyone who wants to break down barriers must expect to be called an anarchist, revolutionary, and avant-gardist.

Wolpe undertook an intense round of activities— writing songs and conducting choirs for the kibbutzim, teaching theory and composition and directing the choir at the Conservatoire, composing music at the forefront of modernism, attempting to organize a Palestine Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music, and involvement in the World Centre for Jewish Music in Palestine. His extraordinary musical gifts, fierce energy, and optimistic spirit were admired by his friends and students, but his radical politics, avant-garde music, and critical attitude to his colleagues aroused opposition among those who controlled the musical institutions.

Wolpe was fearful of the violence that began with Arab assaults on Jewish localities in April of 1936.
Later that year he was injured in a traffic accident in which an Arab driver intentionally ran the car he was in off the road. He spent several days in hospital. Added to his professional setbacks, the situation depressed him, and in 1937 he wrote in his diary that he must leave Palestine and go to the United States. The Wolpes left for America in November of 1938, and in October their students gave them a farewell concert. Wolpe gave a speech in which he said how much he regretted having to leave and to no longer be able to lead them “towards a new, bold disorder.” The concert of music by Wolpe’s students was reviewed by Raphael da Costa in the Palestine Post. He described the event as “in some ways the most remarkable that has been heard in Jerusalem for some time past … Every one of
the compositions showed unmistakable evidence of its origin — of the personality and ability of its author, and of Mr. Wolpe … Through the medium of his pupils he here showed himself an artist and preceptor who demands the utmost of his pupils just as he does of himself.” As Jehoash Hirshberg observed, in the space of four years Wolpe established himself as a national Jewish composer, the most radical of those who immigrated to Palestine during the thirties. His departure deprived the Yishuv of one of its best young composers and potential cultural leaders.

Wolpe retained a deep attachment to his spiritual home. In 1954 he broke off from writing scores of extraordinary complexity to respond to a competition sponsored by the government of Israel for a composition for amateur choirs. On completing Four Pieces for Mixed Chorus on texts from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the contemporary poet Gershon Shofman, he wrote to a friend in his characteristic English: “How I feel good to write music for the people, I, son of my many people, of all the Mediterranean people! … Oh, how my Hebrew music settles in my blood!! And how this
bloodstream, this remarkably ancient, history-filled stream, deepens, mingles wonderfully and is purified. I was truly born for this state of working, to be a rhapsodist, to sing melodies for epics, legends, and true stories.“

Though his concert music was on the leading edge of contemporary thought, Wolpe felt that his vocation was to be a musician of the people. This was reinforced when he visited the new nation of Israel for the first time in 1956 and was welcomed warmly by friends and former students. He was happy to discover that his choral songs from the 1930s were widely sung, and he experienced anew the spirit of the pioneers. He wrote to a friend: “[Israel is] a land of a great fervor, of a vast initiative, physical, resolute and very free; kind (like a huge cradle)!” En route from Israel to Europe for his Fulbright Fellowship in Berlin he wrote: “Israel was a wonderful and very exciting experience. This is the most sensitive soil for my feet and the place where my old sources are most clearly evident. Didn’t I make music there? Didn’t I make music there as I never made anywhere else? Damn it, can’t I be a musician for people? Must I always be a professional and skilled musician?” But the visit was also profoundly disturbing, for he realized that because he did not speak Hebrew, he did not know the language of his heart. “I envy everyone whose jaws are made in the image of his country to resound in him. My language [German] is a widower’s language. Is this my people whose language lies in me like a bride on the bed of her lover?” The visit had driven home the painful fact that he was in permanent exile from where the ancestral language merges with the land and its music.

The years in Palestine brought valuable experiences as well as conflicts and frustrations. In retrospect
Wolpe valued most the discovery of “Oriental folklore.” He was fascinated by the many cultures, languages, and the musics in which he found a much-needed complement to the one-sided aesthetic of European concert music. From the musicologists Robert Lachmann and Edith Gerson-Kiwi and the Iraqui oud player and composer Ezra Aharon he learned about classical Arabic music and the vernacular traditions of Yemenite, Iraqi, and Syrian Jews. And with the historian Sinai Leichter he studied the sounds and morphology of the Hebrew language. Leichter translated the German texts of some of Wolpe’s Berlin marching songs for the choirs to sing in Hebrew and helped him select texts from the modern Hebrew poets. Wolpe responded to the natural landscape and sounds of the country. He studied the ornamental Mediterranean melos and loved to listen to shepherds playing their pipes. In notes written in 1957 to accompany the recording of his Songs from the Hebrew (1936-1938),
he wrote: “I felt the folklore which I heard there to be profoundly latent within me. To this day I cannot forget how the cadences of the languages there struck me, how the light of the sky, the smell of the country, the stones and the hills around Jerusalem, the power and the sinewy beauty of the Hebrew language, all turned into music, which suddenly seemed to have a topographical character. It seemed new to me, and yet I felt it as an old source within me.” These settings of texts from the Bible and by living Hebrew poets were among those which laid the foundations for the modern Hebrew art song.

Wolpe was astonished at the level of demand for music in towns and villages of Palestine. Despite the
hardships of transportation and security, members of several kibbutzim came to him for lessons, including Mordecai Zeira, Shalom Postolski, and Ephraim Ben-Chaim. He described his activity in the country as “teaching young musicians, guiding adult musicians, and writing music of a sort that the dialectic of its influence shocks, arouses, and teaches people to think.” Wolpe saw that providing amateurs with professional guidance was a way to educate their musical values and counteract the static nature of folklore materials.

Wolpe’s colleagues at the Conservatoire told him bluntly what they thought of his music. After hearing
the twelve-tone pieces Emil Hauser said that such modernism should not be imported to Palestine, and
Wolfgang Schocken said that atonality was already done with. The pianist Arieh Abileah told him that he should be clobbered over the head with his setting from the Song of Songs, and the cellist Thelma Yellin said that even a toothache would be better than such music. Wolpe recorded these remarks in a bitter letter to his colleagues (September 12, 1938) in which he set down his reasons for leaving Palestine. He described how happy he had been working on the kibbutzim and teaching at the Conservatoire, but that he could no longer tolerate the low musical level, the narrow horizons, and the provincialism of the institution.

Wolpe’s greatest success came early in 1938 with the March and Variations for Two Pianos (1933), performed by Irma Wolpe and Josef Grünthal (later, Josef Tal). Tal recalled that the whole of high society came to that evening and that there was great applause. Da Costa praised it in the Palestine Post as the pièce de resistance: “The general impression is one of highly concentrated and dramatic tension, controlled but powerful and urgent … In spite of the difficulty of the composition it was enthusiastically received.”

Wolpe was elected to the executive council of the World Centre for Jewish Music, and in 1938 delivered two lectures to its music commission. The first lecture laid out a comprehensive agenda for the development of teaching materials for amateur composers, for the need to prepare to teach Eastern European and Middle Eastern folklore, for supporting the work of Lachmann in making field recordings of Jewish musics and analyzing them, and for a symposium for local composers and theoreticians to consider the issue of a national musical culture. The second lecture was more critical. He attacked the incompetence of the music press and the failure of radio, choirs, and publishing houses to develop the musical life of Palestine. He declared his support for educational activities on the kibbutzim and moshavim and stated that, in the current circumstances, the need was not for specialists but for multi-facetted musicians who could write music, teach music, and perform music themselves. His concern for the Centre continued after he arrived in the U.S.A., where he expressed continued support for its goals and his willingness to help. For several years his music continued to be an amalgam of European and Middle Eastern musics, as in the Oboe Sonata, the Zemach Suite, The Man from Midian ballet, and the Yigdal cantata. Theodor Adorno recognized this when in 1940 he said over the New York radio that Wolpe’s musical language is so passionately spoken that it produces the impression of extremes, “just as Oriental, in this case, Arabic music, which has nothing to do with our tradition of expression, produces its whole diction through the most ardent passion.” Adorno added that Wolpe is ”an outsider in the best sense of the word. It is impossible to subsume him.”

And yet Wolpe’s name does not appear in the index of Max Brod’s book on music in Israel, first published in Germany in 1976 (he is mentioned only as a teacher of Haim Alexander). Peter Gradenwitz’s book on music and musicians in Israel (first edition, 1951) mentions Wolpe only as a teacher. The scant impression Wolpe left soon faded away and his concert music was not played in Israel. It was only in the mid-1980s, in the wake of renewed interest in Europe in the phenomenon of the emigration of intellectuals and artists,that several of his works were again performed in Israel. The first few years of this century have seen another spark of interest, but in general the musical tradition
that Wolpe brought to Palestine, as well as that which he helped to crystallize after his short sojourn in the country, has long since ceased to play a significant role on the Israeli music scene. Wolpe’s personality merged historical and biographical circumstances into a clearly unstable compound. His music and the history of its reception provide decisive evidence of this. The cooperation among institutions in Germany, the United States, Canada, and Israel that has made this disk possible expresses a duty of conscience, a historical debt, and an ethical imperative, as well as recognition of the stature of Wolpe’s music and a belief in the values he championed with dedication, loyalty, and optimism.


Passacaglia for Orchestra , op . 23 (1936-37)

After returning from the conducting course with Scherchen, Wolpe had a vision of how to compose
with twelve tones and within a few months completed the Four Studies on Basic Rows (1935-1936) for piano. His approach was closer to Josef Matthias Hauer than to Schoenberg and Webern, for Hauer based his theory of twelve-tone tropes on the idea of oriental modes. The first of the Four Pieces is based on the interval of the third, the second is on a set of expanding and contracting intervals, and the third is on the tritone. The fourth, the Passacaglia, is a full-fledged concert piece that transcends the other studies in every respect. Recognizing its importance and wishing to have a piece considered by the newly founded Palestine Symphony, Wolpe scored the Passacaglia for orchestra. William Steinberg, who was preparing the orchestra for the arrival of Toscanini, wanted to conduct the Passacaglia, but the orchestra turned it down. The work was not heard until 1983, eleven years after the composer’s death, when Charles Wuorinen led the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.

The main subject is a wedge of 22 notes that expands from the minor second to the major seventh
in steady quarter notes and then contracts in reverse. A secondary subject of dotted rhythms adds 14 notes for a total of 36 notes, that is, three collections of 12 chromatic pitches. In addition Wolpe devised 11 so-called “counter-sets,” each one based on an interval from the minor second to the major seventh. His vision was that the counter-sets would rotate like planets around the main subject: “One set of intervals rotating around another set of intervals. Multiple intervallic layers in action.”

The Passacaglia unfolds in a series of four actions that generate a vast, powerful, and dramatic architecture. At every level of the form the ostinato concept of repetition is in tension with the drive to transform the material into ever-new shapes and gestures. Part 1 (1:05) is in the triple meter of the traditional passacaglia; part 2 (2:13) increases the tempo; part 3 (3:56) moderates the tempo and shifts to duple meter; part 4 (6:30) begins “Impetuoso” in triple meter, changes to slower duple time for a greatly extended presentation of the theme and the orbiting counter-sets, and builds to a mighty climax on clashing major sevenths. The coda brings the action slowly to a standstill.


Incidental Music for Molière’s “Le malade imaginaire ” (1934)

Soon after Wolpe arrived in 1934 the music director of the Habimah Theater in Tel Aviv, Vordhaus ben
Zissy, invited him to compose music for a production of Molière’s Le malade imaginaire. Zvi Rosen, concertmaster of the theater orchestra, recalled that the music was very difficult for the musicians but that Vordhaus fought for every measure. Most of the actors were from Russia, were very conservative, and didn’t like Wolpe’s music. They said it was like an opera and made him shorten it. After a few performances the music went better and served the play wonderfully well. “Wolpe’s music made a very great impression.” Nevertheless, the Habimah did not invite him to compose for them again.

I Overtureto Act1,Theme with 3 variations and coda.
Introduces Argan’s soliloquy in which he reckons up his pharmacist bills, complains about the prices,
and lists the medical treatments he is receiving. The flute’s phrase in flutter-tongue at the end is Argan
gargling melodically.

II Overture to Act 2, Rondo.
Argan wishes his daughter Angélique to marry a doctor so that he will always have medical assistance on hand. But Angélique has met her true love, the music teacher Cléante, and refuses. Argan plans to send her to a convent as punishment. The Rondo plays wittily with Baroque style.

III Duet.
During the operetta within the play the lovers sing a lilting Siciliana.

IV Overture toAct3, Sleepmusic in the form of a Passacaglia.
The passacaglia theme is from Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet. The amusing figurations depict Argan’s fitful sleep. He plays dead so as to discover what people really think of him. Angélique
expresses sorrow at her father’s death. When Argan recovers, he allows her to marry Cléante.

V Dream Dance.
A set of dances with Klezmer accents while Argan sleeps.

VI Closing Dance. A polka for the final celebration.


Three Smaller Canons, op . 24a (1936)
Hexachord Suite, op . 24b (1936)

Continuing his researches into 12-tone composition, Wolpe planned a series of seven canons in which
he would split the 12 tones of the octave into two chromatic hexachords. After composing three canons
for viola and cello the music jumped off the canonic rails and became the four movements of the
Hexachord Suite for oboe and clarinet. The Three Smaller Canons give one chromatic hexachord to the
viola and the other to the cello, which proceed in inversion as mirror images of each other.

For the Suite Wolpe reduced his means radically. The first three movements of the Suite use only the six chromatic pitches of one hexachord, as if an oriental mode or maqam. The Suite thus marks Wolpe’s first essay in amalgamating elements of the “stabilized” musics of the Middle East with progressive European modernism. Note the rich ornamentation and flexible time of the Pastorale, which has the character of an improvisatory taqsim, or free prelude. The third movement returns with elements of canon, but it too is highly ornamented. The Adagio brings back the other hexachord to complete the chromatic spectrum. To have all 12 pitches in play again after nine minutes of variegated music based on only six notes is like shifting from black-and-white to color film. Wolpe dedicated the Hexachord Suite to his student (and later publisher) Josef Marx, who was oboist in the Palestine Symphony at the time. With Marx as his guide Wolpe explored the limits of oboe technique. Near the end of the first movement the oboe plays harmonics, and the third movement closes with the first high A in the oboe literature. When Marx performed the Suite, he would use a harsh sound that recalled the Arabic double reed instrument, the zurna, which Wolpe heard in Palestine.


Concerto for Nine Instruments, op. 22 (1933-37)

In 1937 Wolpe returned to a score that he had begun while studying with Webern, who was completing his Concerto, op. 24 at the time. Webern must have shown Wolpe his score, for Wolpe began a Concerto, also for nine instruments and with the same instrumentation, except for the bassoon and cello replacing the oboe and viola. Wolpe finished the Concerto in Jerusalem, but did not conclude copying
out the parts until after arriving in the U.S.A. The full score and the violin part then disappeared, and all efforts to locate them have thus far failed. The score for this recording was assembled from the eight remaining parts under the supervision of the composer and conductor Johannes Schöllhorn and the sponsorship of Harry Vogt of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Cues in the parts provide a few bars for the violin, and Schöllhorn considered reconstructing the violin part. After giving it much thought, he concluded that the most convincing solution was to leave the work as is. “Wolpe’s music is so dense and unpredictable that no attempt to restore the violin part could match the other parts. Though one values what the piece would have been with the violin part intact, the listener by no means hears a fragment, but rather a thoroughly coherent work with the added color of brief violin passages.” Schöllhorn’s decision was borne out at the first performance in Cologne in 2000. The ensemble recherche, conducted by Emilio Pomàrico, revealed a major item of Wolpe’s oeuvre and an important contribution to the nonet literature. Schöllhorn noted that the Concerto is Wolpe’s first major work in which he absorbs and further extends the latest musical means: “It is the manifestation of an extraordinary transitional phase in which he combines the elements of his earlier music with new possibilities.”

I Fast. irrepressible, with great vitality.
The violin announces a vigorous waltz theme, where the waltz
is a decadent emblem of the bourgeoisie. The waltz undergoes re-education in a brilliant concertante discourse that avoids all sentimentality. A severe march interrupts with repeated woodwind and piano chords. A struggle between the march and the waltz ends decisively with the triumph of the march. Another concertante section provides brilliant solos for cello, piccolo, and piano. The coda brings back the chastened waltz and closes with the march.

II Adagio.
A haunting clarinet aria leads into a slow ensemble dance that is slowly repressed until the clarinet returns with the refrain.

III Song with Words.
Rather slow, radiant, passionate. Powerful chords accompany a determined song of resistance led by the brass. A second strain brings some relief until the first strain returns even more insistently.

IV Moderately fast, with joy (Variations).
The twelve-note theme consists of four three-note chords given forward then reversed, a symmetrical structure reminiscent of Webern. The three-note chords are then treated with extraordinary freedom by the ensemble, which engages in a virtuosic play of colors and gestures in a many-sided dialectic. The last and longest of the 12 variations is a meditative reflection on the four trichords. The theme returns in dotted rhythm, afterwhich the coda reprises the opening statement of the theme and the first variation. Taken together the four movements unfold a scenario of dramatic struggle, lyrical
introspection, fierce resolve, and the new dispensation.

-© Austin Clarkson


Hirshberg, Jehoash. “A modernist composer in an immigrant community: The quest for status and national ideology,” in On the Music of Stefan Wolpe: Essays and Recollections, ed. A. Clarkson (Hillsdale NY: Pendragon Press, 2003), 75-94.

Von der Lühe, Barbara. Die Emigration deutschsprachiger Musikschaffender in das britische
Mandatsgebiet Palästina
. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999.

Haim Alexander, Menachem Avidom, Yohanan Boehm, Herbert Brün, Nira Chen, Edith Gerson-Kiwi,
Herbert Kaplan, Peter Jona Korn, Sinai Leichter, Josef Marx, Zvi Rosen, Ruth Samsonov Cooper, Josef Tal, Irma Wolpe, in Recollections of Stefan Wolpe (


ensemble recherche

The ensemble recherche is one of the most distinguished ensembles for new music. With almost four
hundred premieres to its credit since it was founded in 1985, the ensemble has made a substantial contribution to the development of contemporary chamber and ensemble music.

Consisting of nine soloists, the ensemble has its very own dramaturgical profile and ranks highly on the
international music scene. Apart from its many concert activities, the ensemble recherche also takes part in musical theatre projects, does productions for radio and film, gives courses for instrumentalists and composers and lets young talents watch its rehearsals.

The repertoire of the ensemble begins with the classics of the late 19th century, taking in the French Impressionists, the Second Viennese School and the Expressionists and on to the Darmstadt School, French Spectralism and today’s avant garde experiments. A further interest of the ensernble recherche is the contemporary view of music prior to 1700. Over thirty CDs are proof of the vast scope of its repertoire.

The ensemble recherche has a self-governing organizational form. In its home town, Freiburg im
Breisgau, it has its own subscription series, organized by the Friends of the ensemble recherche. In addition, the ensemble recherche is subsidized by the City of Freiburg and the State of Baden-Württemberg.

Translation: Maureen Winterhager

WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln

Founded in 1947 by the then Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunk (Northwestern German Radio) as an orchestra of the WDR. It worked together and made recordings with distinguished conductors — Otto Klemperer, Sir Georg Solti, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, among others. Currently, the orchestra gives some forty concerts per season at the Cologne Philharmonie and all over the broadcasting area of the WDR. The orchestra has travelled on concert tours through Europe and to the Far East. As first among German orchestras, in 1990-91 it performed the complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler under the baton of Gary Bertini in Tokyo and Osaka. Side by side with the classical-romantic repertoire, the orchestra is devoted to the music of the 20th century. It premiered and gave the first German performances of works by Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio,
Luigi Nono, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Since the 1997-98 season, its principal conductor is Semyon Bychkov.

A selected list of CDs featuring the Orchestra: Richard Strauss Elektra (Koch), Gustav Mahler Symphonies (EMI), Karlheinz Stockhausen Gruppen (DGG), Hans Werner Henze Tristan (DGG), Bruno Maderna Oboe Concerto (Philips), Bernd Alois Zimmermann Requiem für einen jungen Dichter (Wergo), Dmitri Shostakovitch Orchestral Songs (Capriccio), Paul Hindemith Cardillac (DGG), Carl Orff De temporum fine comedia (DGG), Helmut Lachenmann Ausklang (col legno) and Nun (Kairos), York Höller Pensées (Largo) and Der ewige Tag (Avie), Peter Eötvös Atlantis (BMC) and IMA (BMC), Franco Donatoni In Cauda (Stradivarius).

Werner Herbers

Born in 1940 in Bilthoven (The Netherlands), son of German emigrants. Studied oboe, piano and conducting at the Muzieklyceum Amsterdam. He has been principal oboist with the Dutch Radio Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and, from 1970, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. As soloist he played under the conductors Berio, Harnoncourt, Vonk, Leitner, Haitink, de Waart, van Otterloo, among others. Between 1962-1988 he was member and artstic director of the Dutch Wind Ensemble. In 1990 he founded the Ebony Band, consisting of members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, devoted to performance of unknown and forgotten composers active between the two World Wars.

A selected list of works in which he features as conductor: Erwin Schulhoff, volume 1 & 2 (Channel Classics), Music from the Spanish Civil War (BVHAAST), Robert Graettinger volume 1 & 2 (Channel Classics), Stefan Wolpe Zeus und Elida and Schöne Geschichten (Decca), Silvestre Revueltas (Channel Classics).

Johannes Kalitzke

Johannes Kalitzke was born in 1959 in Cologne, Germany, where he studied church music between
1973-75, serving as organist until 1983. Studied in Cologne with Aloys Kontarsky (piano), Wolfgang von der Nahmer (conducting) and York Höller (composition). Also studied with Vinko Globokar und Hans Ulrich Humpert. He has received numerous awards, including the Bernd Alois Zimmermann Prize Cologne (1990). In 1984 he served as choir conductor at the Gelsenkirchen Musiktheater and from 1988 as principal conductor at the Salzburger Festwochen, the Münchner Biennale and the Wiener Festwochen.

His recent compositions are Chasse royal, ein Schattenwurf for orchestra (1995), Molière oder die
Henker der Komödianten
(opera after Bulgakov, 1998), Schubert’s Dream (1999), Wind Silence Time (2001), Six Covered Settings (1999/2000), Vier Toteninseln (2002/03).

He is featured on CDs in works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Harrison Birtwistle, Hans Werner Henze,
Nicolaus A. Huber, Gerhard Stäbler, Johannes Kalitzke (cpo), Stefan Wolpe Symphony (Arte Nova), and Olga Neuwirth Bählamms Fest (Kairos).