Henning Lohner

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Henning Lohner
Henning Lohner.jpg
Lohner in 2005
Born (1961-07-17) 17 July 1961 (age 53)
Berlin, Germany
Residence Los Angeles, California,
Berlin Germany
Alma mater Frankfurt University
Occupation Filmmaker, composer
Employer Remote Control Productions
Home town Palo Alto, California
Parents Dr. Edgar Lohner,
Dr. Marlene Lohner

Henning Lohner (born 17 July 1961) is a German born filmmaker and composer.[1] His artistic output embraces diverse fields within the audio-visual arts. He is best known for film scores written as long-standing member of the Hollywood composers group founded by Hans Zimmer, as well as filmmaker/artist of the raw material media art projects.


Born to German emigrant parents, Henning Lohner was raised near Palo Alto, California, where father Prof. Dr. Edgar Lohner taught Comparative Literature at Stanford University, and mother Dr. Marlene Lohner, ne Clewing, taught German Literature. Lohner has one brother, Peter, who is a lawyer turned writer/producer for film and television. Lohner returned to Germany to complete studies in musicology, art history, and Romanic languages at Frankfurt University, from which he graduated as MA in 1987. In 1982 Lohner took a year at the Berklee Jazz College in Boston, studying Jazz Improvisation with Gary Burton and Film Scoring with visiting lecturers Jerry Goldsmith and David Raksin. During the European Year of Music, 1985, Lohner was awarded a grant for music composition at the Centre Acanthes to study with Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, who subsequently became Lohner’s lifelong mentor.[2] Parallel to his academic studies, Lohner became assistant to German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1984; working at La Scala in Milano on Stockhausen’s opera Licht,[3] Lohner was introduced to the visual media. On Stockhausen’s recommendation,[citation needed] Lohner went to Paris to become musical advisor and assistant director to Louis Malle on his film May Fools (1989–90, starring Michel Piccoli). Apprenticeships on Steve Reich’s multi-media oratorio The Cave (1990) and for Giorgio Strehler on his theater project Goethes Faust I + II (1990-1992) followed. Due to his commitment to the fields of contemporary music and theater as well as avant-garde filmmaking, Frank Zappa became aware of Lohner and invited him to work in California; Lohner collaborated with Zappa intermittently until his death in 1993.[4] Lohner initialized and co-produced Zappa’s last concert performance, The Yellow Shark, along with the album of the same name, followed by the album Civilization, Phase III; both albums are based on collaborations with the Ensemble Modern, a contemporary music group from Frankfurt, Germany. Lohner’s film installation project raw material toured several important museums in Europe from 1995 until 1997, establishing Lohner as multi-media artist. Thanks to Hans Zimmer, Lohner began composing for films, joining his Remote Control Productions in 1996. From here on in Lohner works equally in the fields of audio and visual media. Lohner lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. He is a Visiting Professor at the renowned Zurich Academy for Music and Theater, now ZHDK (Academy of Arts) in Switzerland.

Media art[edit]

Frank Zappa introduced Lohner to highly acclaimed cinematographer Van Theodore Carlson in 1989 to film Peefeeyatko,[5][6] the biographical art film on Zappa’s life and work. Peefeeyatko spawned Lohner and Carlson’s life-long artistic partnership. It contains the first published examples of their filmic artwork. Of formative influence to the art of both filmmakers was working with composer, artist, and philosopher John Cage during the early 90s. one 11 and 103,[7][8][9] Cage’s last work and artistic credo, in collaboration with Lohner as director and Carlson as cinematographer, is a 90-minute black and white feature film about light in an empty room; Cage also called it: „a film without subject“. It was completed just days before Cage died in August 1992. The Revenge of the Dead Indians,[10][11][12] a film essay with composed screenplay and editing in analogy to Cage’s rigorously democratic philosophical and musical practice, was begun together with Cage in 1990 and was completed after his death in 1993. The Revenge of the Dead Indians became Lohner & Carlson’s homage to their mentor. Subsequently, Lohner & Carlson exhibited their audio-visual installation raw material, vol. 1 - 11 (1995)[13] throughout Europe at venues such as the Gemeente Museet, in The Hague, The Sonic Arts Festival in Rome, and the Video Art Festival in Berlin.[14] From the raw material gathered during 20 years of work in film and television, Lohner established a catalog of individual images - simply named Moving pictures - visible in any artistic or cultural context outside of narrative film or television. Lohner & Carlson’s Moving Pictures are implanted as loops on a digital canvas to hang on any wall-space like a painting. This artistic approach to the transformational nature of film raises the question of its aptitude for the essence of pictoral autonomy. They were first shown in 2006 at the renowned Springer & Winckler Gallery in Berlin. Lohner’s media art has been exhibited around the globe at such venues as: the Centre Pompidou,[15] the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,[16] the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Galleria Traghetto in Venice and Rome, the National Art Gallery of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, the Mira Art Collection in Tokyo, the Kunsthalle in Emden, and many others.

Film scoring[edit]

In 1996, Lohner moved to Los Angeles to work as full-time composer at Media Ventures (now Remote Control) film music studios,[17] founded by oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. (His) Remote Control Productions are considered the top talent campus for composers in the entertainment industry. Lohner’s career as film music composer[18] began with apprenticeships for Zimmer on such films as Broken Arrow, Gladiator, and The Thin Red Line, progressing to additional composing on Zimmer films such as Spanglish and The Ring. Lohner has scored over 50 feature films to date. Over the years, the two German-born composers have worked together closely and regularly, resulting in the mutual scoring of such films as the German animation Laura's Star and Dreamwork’s The Ring Two - which earned Lohner two BMI Music Awards in recognition from his peers. Of the few established German composers in Hollywood, Lohner is the only one to regularly work in his home country. Der Grosse Bagarozy (The Devil & Mrs. D, 1999, dir. Bernd Eichinger), Starcatcher (2000, dir. Nico Caro, for the World Expo 2000), Lauras Stern (2004), Little Dodo (2007), and Bloch (2010, dir. Jan Schuette) are to be named here. Generally speaking, Lohner’s film scoring is directed towards the genres: children’s films (the Laura’s Star series), romantic comedies (Marcello, Marcello), drama (Love Comes Lately), comedy (Werner Herzog’s Incident at Loch Ness), and horror films (Hellraiser: Deader, Mimic Sentinel, Timber Falls, et al.). Lohner’s new score to the silent movie classic The Hands of Orlac was premiered at the Ghent opera house during the International Film Festival 2001 in Belgium, proposing a new approach in the fusion of film and concert music.

Film directing[edit]

Referred to German Public Television by Stockhausen in 1988, Lohner began producing and directing cultural documentaries, mostly portraits of influential artists and scientists of our day; e.g.: film director Abel Ferrara, scientists Edward Lorenz and Murray Gell-Man, philosopher Noam Chomsky, painters Ellsworth Kelly and Gerhard Richter,[19] fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. To date, Lohner has directed over 100 short films and over 40 feature length documentaries. In 1993 he was selected to represent Germany at the Input International Television Conference. Beyond the afore mentioned art films (The Revenge of the Dead Indians, one 11 and 103, etc.) Lohner is recognized for such films as The Alphabet of Shapes (1994, about Benoit Mandelbrod and Fractal Geometry), Les Prairies de la Mer (1995, about Jacques Cousteau & Louis Malle), Create or Die (2003, about actor, director, artist Dennis Hopper), and Ninth November Night (2004, about painter Gottfried Helnwein’s installation commemorating the Reichskristallnacht; shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2005.

Awards / achievements[edit]

  • 2006 BMI Film Music Award for The Ring Two
  • 2006 BMI London Film Music Award for The Ring Two
  • 2005 Academy Award Shortlist, category: Best Documentary Short for Ninth November Night [20]
  • 1994 Silver Apple Award from the National Educational Film Festival of the USA for one 11 and 103
  • 1991 Nomination & Runner-Up, 1st International Music Film Awards, Cannes, France

Filmography (selection)[edit]

As composer[edit]


  • The Alphabet of Shapes


  • Dennis Hopper: L.A. Blues


  • Der Eisbär together with Klaus Badelt
  • The Hands of Orlac new music to the silent movie of 1925


  • The Devil & Mrs.D together with Stephan Zacharias


  • Catching the Stars
  • MTV Fear


  • 666 – Traue keinem, mit dem du schläfst!
  • The Ring additional music for Hans Zimmer


  • Ancient Warriors
  • Barstow
  • Dennis Hopper: Create or Die
  • Der Weg nach Murnau
  • Fahrerflucht
  • God Is No Soprano
  • Mimic Sentinel


  • Incident at Loch Ness
  • The Turtles
  • Laura's Star together with Hans Zimmer and Nick Glennie-Smith
  • Ninth November Night
  • No More Souls: One Last Slice of Sensation
  • Sterne leuchten auch am Tag
  • Spanglish additional music for Hans Zimmer
  • Suiyô puremia: sekai saikyô J horâ SP - Nihon no kowai yoru


  • BloodRayne
  • Inside the Kremlin
  • Hellraiser: Deader
  • Kein Himmel über Afrika
  • Prinz und Paparazzi
  • Santa’s Slay
  • The Ring Two


  • 10.5 - Apocalypse
  • Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone
  • Lauras Weihnachtsstern


  • Fetch
  • Kleiner Dodo TV Series
  • Love Comes Lately
  • In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
  • Timber Falls


  • Be Like Others
  • Kleiner Dodo
  • Marcello Marcello
  • Shuttle
  • Lauras Stern und der geheimnisvolle Drache Nian together with Guy Cuyverts
  • Night Train
  • Saiba from Bhopal
  • Turtle: The Incredible Journey


  • Bloch
  • Bhopali
  • Lauras Stern und die Traummonster
  • Detour

As film director and producer[edit]


  • Stockhausen: Lichtwerke


  • Stockhausen: Michaels Reise


  • Karl Lagerfeld und die Musik


  • 22708 Types
  • Dennis Hopper as Collector and Artist
  • Dixieland Jazzfestival Enkhuizen


  • United Jazz & Rock Ensemble in Concert


  • Gerhard Richter: 30 Years of Painting
  • The Alphabet of Shapes



  • The Modern String Quartet


  • Hollywood Halloween


  • Musik im Spiegel der Gefühle


  • German Hollywood Dreams


  • Dennis Hopper: Create or Die


  • Ninth November Night

As multi-media artist[edit]


  • Peefeeyatko audio-visual installation film together with Frank Zappa


  • one 11 and 103 audio-visual installation film together with John Cage



  • The Black Box of Culture audio-visual installation film with Brian Eno


  • Lohner&Carlson’s raw material, vol. 1 - 11 audio-visual installation for 11 audio & video monitor pairs



  • Lohner&Carlson’s raw material: moving pictures film installation for 1 to infinite number of Digital Canvasses


  1. ^ Who’s Who in the World 2005, New Jersey 2004, p.1318.
  2. ^ Interview with Xenakis, Computer Music Journal 10, Nr.4 1986, p.48-53; Xenakis and the UPIC, Computer Music Journal 10, Nr.4 1986, p.42-47; Xenakis Werkliste und Auswahlbibliographie, MusikTexte 13, 1986, p.50-59.
  3. ^ Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik, "Auswahl von Filmen über das Werk", pp. 64–66 from catalog of Stockhausen's works.
  4. ^ Barry Miles: Zappa a Biography, New York 2004, p. 368; Michael Gray: Mother! The Frank Zappa Story, London 1993, p. 232.
  5. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167330/plotsummary
  6. ^ International Visual Music Awards – Cannes, January 1992, nominated in Category: TV Programme – Classical Music Documentary.
  7. ^ Henning Lohner: Der Spielfilm 'one11 and 103' von John Cage. Ein persönlicher Entstehungsbericht, in: Mehr Licht, VVS Saarbrücken (Ed.), Berlin 1999, p.123.
  8. ^ "Medien Kunst Netz | Cage, John: One11 and 103". Medienkunstnetz.de. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  9. ^ Henning Lohner: The Making of Cage’s one11, in: Writings through John Cage’s Music, Poetry, and Art, David W. Bernstein and Christopher Hatch (Ed.), Chicago University Press 2001.
  10. ^ "John Cage - The Revenge of the Dead Indians: In Memoriam John Cage". Moderecords.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  11. ^ World Wide Video Festival Catalogue (11/4 – 17/4 1994), Stichting World Wide Video Centre (Ed.), The Hague 1994, p. 101; Videofest 10.-20. Februar 1994 Mediopolis, Berlin e.V. (Ed.), p.91; Das Medienkunstfestival des ZKM Karlsruhe 1995, Katalog der Ausstellungen und Veranstaltungen, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (Ed.), p.78.
  12. ^ Henning Lohner: Die Rache der toten Indianer. Zur Frage der Dokumentation als Kunstform, in: Bandbreite. Medien zwischen Kunst und Politik, Andreas Broeckmann, Rudolf Frieling (Ed.), Berlin 2004, p.50-57.
  13. ^ World Wide Video Festival Catalogue 1996, Stichting World Wide Video Centre (Ed.), The Hague, p.219.
  14. ^ Realismus. Das Abenteuer der Wirklichkeit. Christiane Lange and Nils Ohlsen (Ed.), Munich 2010, p.107.
  15. ^ http://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Manifs.nsf /0/D3E99E41E162D407C12576D500398AD7?OpenDocument&sessionM=2.10&L=1
  16. ^ http://www.e-flux.com/shows/view/6207
  17. ^ More Music with Media Ventures, in: Keyboard. The World’s Leading Music Technology Magazine, April 1999, p.33; Die Magie der Filmmusik, in: Keyboards, May 1999, p.31; Du 754 – Augen zu, Film ab. Ein Handbuch zum Soundtrack, March 2005, p.24.
  18. ^ Interview mit Henning Lohner, in: Keys 7, July 2002, p.100.
  19. ^ Dietmar Elger: Gerhard Richter, Maler, Cologne 2002, p. 403, p. 404.
  20. ^ Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, letter of 14. January 2005 to Henning Lohner.

External links[edit]