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Deutscher Musikautorenpreis (German Music Authors’ Prize) 2019: Wolfgang Rihm to be honoured for his life´s work

Well-known composer and essayist, Wolfgang Rihm, will be honoured with the Deutscher Musikautorenpreis (German Music Authors' Prize) for his life´s work. Wolfgang Rihm has continuously and consistently developed further his own, expressive style, and transcended genre limits by doing so. He looks back on his work spanning more than 500 compositions and is the most-played German composer of our times. GEMA is honouring this year’s award winners at a gala event on 14 March in Berlin.


“Wolfgang Rihm is the ‘enfant terrible de son siècle’ in the best sense of the word. He managed to find an own language with his compositions in a world which is as immense as today’s world”, so the summary of the jury of the Deutscher Musikautorenpreis. “His musical personality is complex and reflects both the past but also the present of the musical worlds. In this context, his abilities shine in different directions and mirror his music and his way to create music in a multidimensional manner.” 

Wolfgang Rihm: “It is a huge honour to be awarded this cooperative prize for my life’s work. Music has accompanied me since my earliest youth and has very much influenced my character. It is always with me and an indispensable component of my life. I feel very close to GEMA and the Deutscher Musikautorenpreis since it underlines and supports the diversity of musical creation in Germany – an important impulse for the many music authors.”

Wolfgang Rihm launched his first composition attempts as early as at the age of eleven. He followed his passion and studied composition and music theory later, in his hometown of Karlsruhe. From 1974 onwards, Rihm obtained a sensationally unanimous recognition within the music sector after the performance of his orchestra piece Morphonie - Sektor IV during the Donaueschingen Music Days. In the meantime, more than 500 compositions are part of his life’s work which can be described as expressive and emotional. An exact allocation to a specific genre is not possible since Rihm has consistently continued to develop his own style further. He also keeps crossing genre limits. This is why not only oratorios, orchestra works, ensemble works and chamber music but also, in particular, music theatre works are among his body of creation. For the opening of the Elbphilharmonia he wrote “Tryptichon und Spruch in memoriam Hans Henny Jahnn” [Tryptich and sermon in memory of Hans Henny Jahnn], whose premiere was followed by millions via radio, internet as well as TV.

Rihm won the Beethoven Prize by the city of Bonn for “Jakob Lenz” (based on Georg Büchner) in 1981 - probably the most-performed chamber opera of a living composer - and the Rolf-Liebermann-Prize for the opera “Hamletmaschine” [Hamlet machine] in 1986. Apart from numerous further prizes for his artistic creation, such as the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (2003), Rihm was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit (1989), the Grand Federal Cross of Merit (2011) and the Grand Cross with Star in 2014. The latter was awarded, among other reasons, for his pro bono engagement in the music sector and his contributions to the international success of some of his students as composers. In 2010, he received the Leone d’oro of the Biennale in Venice and he has been a member of the Order Pour le Mérite for Science and Art since 2012. 

The Deutsche Musikautorenpreis in the category “lifetime achievement” honours personalities who are supposed to experience a special tribute for their life-long musical work. They are composers and lyricists whose entire work speaks of the highest quality. They influenced their genre considerably with their work and got involved for other authors. The prize is an expression of the cooperative and collegial appreciation and solidarity of the music authors who are joined under the umbrella of GEMA.

The nominees and award winners of the Deutsche Musikautorenpreis are determined by an expert jury from the submissions of GEMA members and the professional associations (DKV, DTV, DMV, CC) [German Composers’ Association, German Lyricists’ Association, German Music Publishers’ Association, Composers’ Club] as well as based on own proposals. The jury in 2019 is made up of: Christine Aufderhaar (Composition Audiovisual Media), Violeta Dinescu (Composition Choir Music), Julia Mihály (Composition Ensemble wit Electronics), Henning Wehland (Lyrics Pop/Rock), Melanie Wilhelm aka Melbeatz (Composition Hip-Hop), Nils Wülker (Composition Jazz/Crossover), Rolf Zuckowski (Lyrics Childrens’ Songs).

 

Note to the editors

Further information on the Prize can be accessed on www.musikautorenpreis.de. Press images, statements and biographies of the nominees and announced award winners are available to you at www.musikautorenpreis.de/presse. For press accreditations (red carpet and press lounge) and interview enquiries please use the contact details below.

 

About the Deutsche Musikautorenpreis

The Deutsche Musikautorenpreis was launched by GEMA in 2009, in order to honour composers and lyricists from the German music sector for their outstanding achievements. Under the slogan "Authors honour authors", music creators come to the fore who otherwise - more often than not - do not get to enjoy the limelight of the stage as they stand in the shadows of the artists. The Deutsche Musikautorenpreis is under the patronage of Prof. Monika Grütters MdB (Member of the German Parliament), Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. All winners and nominees are accepted as members of the Akademie Deutscher Musikautoren (ADMA, Academy of German Music Authors).  Further information is at www.musikautorenpreis.de and www.adma.de.

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