Aribert Reimann

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Aribert Reimann, September 2010

Aribert Reimann (born 4 March 1936) is a German composer, pianist and accompanist, known especially for his literary operas. His version of Shakespeare's King Lear, the opera Lear, was written at the suggestion of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who sang the title role.

Life and career[edit]

Reimann was born in Berlin. After studying composition, counterpoint and piano (under, among others, Boris Blacher) at the Berlin University of the Arts, Reimann took a job as a repetiteur at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His first appearances as a pianist and accompanist were towards the end of the 1960s. In the early 1970s, he became a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and held a professorship in contemporary song at Berlin's Hochschule der Künste from 1983 to 1998.

Reimann's reputation as a composer has increased greatly with several great literary operas, including Lear and Das Schloss (The Castle). Besides these, he has written chamber music, orchestral works and songs. He has been honoured repeatedly, including the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Order of Merit of Berlin.

Invited by Walter Fink, he was the seventh composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 1997, in songs and chamber music with the Auryn Quartet, playing the piano himself.

His commissioned work, Cantus for Clarinet and Orchestra, dedicated to the clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann, was premiered on January 13, 2006, in the WDR's Large Broadcasting Hall in Cologne, Germany, in the presence of the composer, who claims the work was inspired by Claude Debussy's compositions for clarinet.

His opera Medea, after Franz Grillparzer, was premiered at the Vienna State Opera in 2010, conducted by Michael Boder (de), with Marlis Petersen in the title role.

In 2011 he was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize "for his life's work".[1]


  • 1962 Berliner Kunstpreis für Musik (Junge Generation) – Berlin Art Prize for Music (Young Generation)
  • 1963 Rompreis mit Villa Massimo-Stipendium – Rome Prize, with Villa Massimo scholarship
  • 1965 Robert-Schumann-Preis der Stadt DüsseldorfRobert Schumann Prize of Düsseldorf City
  • 1966 Förderungspreis der Stadt Stuttgart – Encouragement Prize of Stuttgart City
  • 1985 Großes BundesverdienstkreuzThe Great Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 1985 Braunschweiger Ludwig-Spohr-Preis – The Braunschweig Ludwig Spohr Preis
  • 1986 Prix de composition musicale de la Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco – Prize for musical composition, from the Prince Pierre of Monaco Foundation
  • 1987 Bach-Preis der Freien und Hansestadt HamburgBach Prize of Hamburg
  • 1991 Frankfurter MusikpreisFrankfurt Music Prize
  • 1993 Officier de "L'Ordre du Mérite Culturel" de la Principauté de Monaco – Officer of the Order of Cultural Merit of the Principality of Monaco
  • 1995 Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 1999 Commandeur de "L'Ordre du Mérite Culturel" de la Principauté de Monaco – Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit of the Principality of Monaco
  • 1999 Verleihung der Goldenen Nadel der Dramatiker Union – Award of the Golden Needle of the Dramatic Union
  • 2002 Preis der Kulturstiftung Dortmund – Cultural Foundation of Dortmund Prize
  • 2002 Berliner Kunstpreis – Berlin Art Prize
  • 2006 Arnold Schönberg Prize
  • 2011 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize




  • Variations for Orchestra
  • Nahe Ferne (Near Distance)
  • Cantus für Klarinette und Orchester (Cantus for Clarinet and Orchestra)
  • Sieben Fragmente für Orchester in memoriam Robert Schumann (Seven Fragments for Orchestra, in memoriam Robert Schumann) (1988)

Vocal music[edit]

  • Eingedunkelt für Alt-Solo (Eingedunkelt for Alto Solo) (1992)
  • Fünf Lieder nach Gedichten von Paul Celan für Countertenor und Klavier (Five Songs based on the poetry of Paul Celan for countertenor and piano) (1994/2001)
  • Shine and Dark für Bariton und Klavier (left hand) (1989)
  • Entsorgt für Bariton-Solo (1989)
  • Wolkenloses Christfest Requiem nach Gedichten von Otfried Büthe, dedicated to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Siegfried Palm (1974)[2]
  • Zyklus nach Gedichten von Paul Celan für Bariton und Klavier (Cycle based on the poetry of Paul Celan for baritone and piano) (1956)
  • Unrevealed, Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh für Bariton und Streichquartett (1981)


  1. ^ "'Nobelpreis der Musik' an Aribert Reimann" Archived February 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Bayerischer Rundfunk, 1 February 2011 (retrieved 1 February 2011)
  2. ^ Wolkenloses Christfest on the Schott Music website

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Aribert Reimann at Wikimedia Commons