Wolfgang Rihm © Stefan Deuber/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
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Wolfgang Rihm © Stefan Deuber/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
Composer Seminar, course pass
Wolfgang Rihm | guest docents
Discussion of the selected works
“One always hears it asserted: ‘Young composers all do the same thing.’ On the other hand, my experience is of different worlds, as if they came from different planets,” says Wolfgang Rihm, describing his impression of the next generation of composers. This variety of voices likewise characterizes the Composer Seminar. Rihm has no desire to prescribe aesthetic dogmas but wants to promote “the articulation of one’s own.” Which is why he consciously chooses “composers from different states of development and consciousness.” He adds: “I gather people together from whom, I believe, a kind of conversation can emerge – a discourse based on different aesthetic and cultural preconditions.” Over five days that are also open to the public, the participants will discuss their works with Rihm and his co-mentor Dieter Ammann; Sir George Benjamin and composer-in-residence Thomas Kessler will join them as guests. Subsequently, the JACK and the Mivos Quartets will rehearse the scores – this summer, works for strings – and present them on 1 September as part of the Special Event Day.
Wolfgang Rihm © Universal Edition/Erich Marinitsch
The German composer Wolfgang Rihm, who has been Artistic Director of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY since the summer of 2016, was born in 1952 in Karlsruhe and began composing at an early age. While he was still a high school student, in 1968, he was accepted into Eugen Werner Velte’s composition class at the University of Music in Karlsruhe. He later continued his training with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne (1972-73) and finally with Klaus Huber in Freiburg (1973–1976). At the University of Freiburg he additionally took seminars in musicology with Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht. A series of large-scale orchestral works brought Wolfgang Rihm his international breakthrough in the late 1970s. Today he ranks among the most prolific and versatile composers of the present era and has created a multifaceted oeuvre that to date consists of more than 400 compositions, including nine works of music theater alone: Faust und Yorick (1976), Jakob Lenz (1977-78), Die Hamletmaschine (1983-86), Oedipus (1987), Die Eroberung von Mexico (1987-91), Séraphin (1994), Das Gehege (2006), Proserpina (2009), and Dionysos, which received its world premiere in 2010 at the Salzburg Festival. Since 1985 Rihm has been a professor of composition at the University of Music in Karlsruhe. He has long enjoyed a close relationship with LUCERNE FESTIVAL: he was featured as composer-in-residence on the programming in 1997, and in the following year his orchestral work IN-SCHRIFT was performed at the opening of the KKL Luzern; additional commissions have followed, including the symphony Nähe fern (2011-12), the Horn Concerto (2014), and his Gruss-Moment to mark the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez. Wolfgang Rihm, who has also published several volumes of essays and interviews, is a member of numerous academies and has received many prestigious awards, including the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (2003), the Robert Schumann Prize (2014), the Grawemeyer Award (2015), and the European Church Music Prize (2017). He is a Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, has been awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany, and is a member of the order “Pour le Mérite.”
February 2017Other dates
George Benjamin © Michiharu Okubo
Sir George Benjamin
Sir George Benjamin, who was born 1960 in London, started composing at the age of seven. In 1974 he began regular music studies in his native city, moving to Paris two years later to study with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod; from 1978 to 1982, he completed his education with Alexander Goehr at King’s College, Cambridge. The orchestral works Ringed by the Flat Horizon, which was premiered by the BBC Proms in 1980, and At First Light (1982) marked Benjamin’s breakthrough to international acclaim. In 2002, Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra gave the premiere of Palimpsests, which opened a portrait series dedicated to him at London’s Barbican Centre. Benjamin unveiled his first music theater work, Into the Little Hill, at the Paris Festival d’Automne in 2006. This was followed by Written on Skin in 2012 at the Festival Aix-en-Provence, which also sets a libretto by Martin Crimp and which has since been performed by 20 other companies; he continued his collaboration with Lessons in Love and Violence at the Royal Opera House in London in 2018. The last decade has seen multi-concert retrospectives of the works of Benjamin, who was composer-in-residence at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 2008, in San Francisco, Aldeburgh, Ojai, Frankfurt a. M., Aix-en-Provence, Milan, Turin, London, Toronto, New York, Dortmund, and Amsterdam. He is a resident artist with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in the 2018-19 season. Sir George Benjamin is additionally a successful conductor and has led the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Ensemble Modern. He is Professor of Composition at King’s College London. A Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Benjamin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017.
George Benjamin was introduced for the first time as a conductor at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 2008 in a concert with the Ensemble intercontemporain and in performances of his opera Into the Little Hill.
Thomas Kessler © Inge Zimmermann
Thomas KesslerOther dates
Monday, 19 August | 10 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. and 12 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Tuesday, 20 August | 10 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. and 12 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Wednesday, 21 August | 10 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. and 12 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Thursday, 22 August | 10 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. and 12 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Friday, 23 August | 10 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. and 12 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Sunday, 1 September | 13.00 and 16.00 | Kunstmuseum Luzern | Closing Concert of the Composer Seminar