Wolfgang Rihm

Matthias Pintscher and Wolfgang Rihm 2015

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 2017