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Lachenmann, Helmut

Born in 1935 in Stuttgart, in 1955–58 he studied piano, theory and counterpoint at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, and in 1958–60, composition with Luigi Nono in Venice. The first public performances of his works took place at the Venice Biennale in 1962 and the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. Upon completion of his teaching at the University of Ludwigsburg, Lachenmann became professor of composition at the music conservatories of Hanover (1976–81) and Stuttgart (1981–99). Furthermore he taught many seminars, workshops, and masterclasses in Germany and abroad, including several times at the Summer Courses in Darmstadt between 1978 and 2006. In 2008 Lachenmann was Fromm Foundation Visiting Professor at the Department of Music of Harvard University.

Helmut Lachenmann received numerous awards for his compositions, for example the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1997, Royal Philharmonic Society Award London in 2004, Berlin Art Prize, Leone d’Oro of the Venice Biennale in 2008 as well as the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Contemporary Music.

Lachenmann is Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (from 2010), Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, honorary doctor of the music conservatories of Hanover, Dresden and Cologne as well as member of the Academies of Arts in Berlin, Brussels, Hamburg, Leipzig, Mannheim and Munich. His works are performed at many festivals and concert series in Germany and abroad.


Major works (since 1990): “...zwei Gefühle...”, Musik mit Leonardo for two loudspeakers and small orchestra (1992), Air for percussion and large orchestra, new version (1994), The Little Match Girl, stage music to a libretto after Hans Christian Andersen, Leonardo da Vinci, Gudrun Ensslin and Friedrich Nietzsche (1990–96), Nun for male choir, flute, trombone and large orchestra (1998–99), Serynade for piano (1998–2000), String Quartet no. 3 Grido (2001), Schreiben for orchestra (2003), Double for string orchestra (2004), Concertini for chamber ensemble (2005), Raumfahrer for orchestra (2007).