Friedrich Goldmann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friedrich Goldmann (27 April 1941 – 24 July 2009) was a German composer and conductor.


Born on 27 April 1941 in Siegmar-Schönau (since July 1951 incorporated into Chemnitz), Goldmann's music education began in 1951 when he joined the Dresdner Kreuzchor. At age 18, he received a scholarship by the city of Darmstadt to study composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in 1959, who further encouraged him over the following years (Müller 2001). He moved on to study composition at the Dresden Conservatory from 1959, taking his exam two years early in 1962. From 1962 until 1964 he attended a master class at the Academy of Arts, Berlin with Rudolph Wagner-Régeny. Around this time, he worked as a freelance music assistant at the Berliner Ensemble where he befriended other composers and writers, including Heiner Müller, Luigi Nono and Luca Lombardi. He also met Paul Dessau, who became a close friend and mentor. From 1964 until 1968 he studied musicology at Humboldt University of Berlin, after which he worked as a freelance composer and conductor (Stöck 2002).

Major commissions include works for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Semperoper Dresden, the Berlin Staatsoper, three works for Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet, Komische Oper Berlin, the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Expo 2000 in Hannover, several works for Konzerthaus Berlin and the German radio orchestras (Anon. & n.d.(a)).

As a conductor, he worked with several orchestras and ensembles, including the Berliner Philharmoniker (with which he recorded Stockhausen's Gruppen, Deutsche Grammophon DG 447 761-2 / 940 462-2; reissued as 001708102), the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Staatskapelle Berlin (including a production of Schönberg's Moses und Aron, directed by Ruth Berghaus, in 1987), the Gruppe Neue Musik Hanns Eisler, and the Scharoun Ensemble. He also performed all over Europe, Russia, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. He had a close working relationship with Ensemble Modern from the first days of the ensemble's formation. Their collaborations included a tour of Russia, the French and West German premieres of Luigi Nono's Prometeo, as well as performances and recordings of Goldmann's own works (Nachtmann 2013).

From 1988 he was the principal conductor of the Boris Blacher Ensemble in Berlin (Nachtmann 2013) Recordings of his and other composers’ music have been released by Nova, Wergo, Deutsche Grammophon, Academy, Edel Classics, RCA, BMG and other labels (Anon. 2014). Other conductors who have performed his works include Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Michael Gielen, Mark Elder, Ernest Bour and Ingo Metzmacher (Nachtmann 2013)

From 1980 until 1991, he taught master classes at Berlin's Akademie der Künste. In 1991 he became a professor of composition at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin (now Universität der Künste) (Müller 2001). There, he headed the Institute for New Music from 2003 until 2005 (Press release by the Institute of New Music). Among his students were Enno Poppe, Helmut Oehring, Nicolaus Richter de Vroe, Steffen Schleiermacher, Chatschatur Kanajan, H. Johannes Wallmann, Jakob Ullmann, Charlotte Seither, Arnulf Herrmann, Paul Frick and Sergej Newski (Nachtmann 2013).

He was a member of the Academies of Fine Arts of East Berlin (from 1978) and of West Berlin (from 1990, before the unification of both academies), and Dresden (from 1995). He was also a member of the German-French Cultural Council, and Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council, a member of the International Music Council). From 1990 until 1997 he was president of the German section of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) (Müller 2001; Nachtmann 2013) Awards include the Hanns-Eisler-Preis, Kulturpreis and Nationalpreis of the GDR (Niklew 1992).

Friedrich Goldmann died in Berlin on 24 July 2009 (Kühn 2009; Nachtmann 2013). He was 68 years old. His grave is located at Berlin's Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof cemetery (Heinke 2011). Currently the majority of his autograph scores are located at the archive of Berlin's Akademie der Künste (Anon. & n.d.(b)).


Goldmann wrote more than 200 compositions. They include chamber music, solo concertos, orchestral works including four symphonies, stage and film music scores as well as one opera, R.Hot oder Die Hitze (Schneider 2003, 223). A comprehensive list of works can be found on the composer's website (Anon. & n.d.(c)).

His output can be divided roughly into three creative periods. His early works from 1963 up to the beginning of the 1970s include several works for the stage as well as chamber music and three "Essays" for orchestra. In these he initially employed serial and cluster techniques, claiming later that he considered most of them "to be thrown away." Around 1969 Goldmann developed a technique of appropriating established musical forms (such as sonata, symphony, string quartet, etc.) and "breaking them open from within", thereby changing their impact and meaning (Stürzbecher 1979, 58). Important examples of this phase are Bläsersonate (1969) and Symphony No. 1 (1971), both of which are major early examples of the deconstruction of the idea of linear progress in new music since the 1970s (Nachtmann 2013).

From the end of the 1970s a new tendency evolved that would dominate his third creative period, especially from the late 1990s: autonomous, "absolute" composition (Dibelius 1988, 286–88). Instead of working with discrepancies, as in "polystylism" or in his previous works, for instance, Goldmann sought interactions and integrations of techniques and material. This approach aims at overcoming assumed antagonisms between different “layers of material.” Within the resulting consistent shapes formed from transitions between tones, microtones, and noise, assumed parameter boundaries are meant to dissolve perceptually—thus challenging the concept of musical material as a set of stable entities. Important examples are the String Quartet 2 (1997), the Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Violoncello (2000), and Quasi una sinfonia (2008) (Nachtmann 2013).


  • Anon. 2014. "Friedrich Goldmann" recordings database at (accessed 15 August 2014)
  • Anon. n.d.(a). "Friedrich Goldmann: worklist" detailed information on all works by Friedrich Goldmann that are published by Edition Peters.
  • Anon. n.d.(b). "Musikarchiv: Friedrich Goldmann: Komponist, Dirigent, 1941–2009" Akademie der Künste website (accessed 15 August 2014).
  • Anon. n.d.(c). "Friedrich Goldmann: Oeuvre/Werkverzeichnis". Composer's website (accessed 15 August 2014).
  • Dibelius, Ulrich. 1988. Moderne Musik II 1965–1985. Munich: Serie Piper.
  • Heinke, Lothar. 2011. "Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof: Bei Gaus und Hermlin". Der Tagesspiegel (12 December) (accessed 13 August 2014).
  • Kühn, Georg-Friedrich. 2009. "Luzide Strenge: Zum Tod des Komponisten und Dirigenten Friedrich Goldmann". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (27 July).
  • Müller, Gerhard. 2001. "Goldmann, Friedrich". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Nachtmann, Clemens. 2013. "Friedrich Goldmann", in Komponisten der Gegenwart encyclopedia), revision 50, edited by Hanns-Werner Heister and Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer. Munich: Edition Text & Kritik.
  • Niklew, Christiane. 1992. "Goldmann, Friedrich". In Wer war wer in der DDR?, edited by Jochen Černý. Berlin: Links.
  • Schneider, Frank. 2003. "Goldmann, Friedrich". "Komponistenlexikon", second edition, edited by Horst Weber. Kassel: Bärenreiter; Stuttgart: Metzler.
  • Stöck, Katrin. 2002. "Goldmann, Friedrich". "Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart", second edition, edited by Ludwig Finscher - "Personenteil" volume 7: Fra-Gre. Kassel: Bärenreiter / Stuttgart: Metzler.
  • Stürzbecher, Ursula. 1979 "Interview mit Friedrich Goldmann". Komponisten in der DDR. 17 Gespräche, 58. Hildesheim: Gerstenberg.
  • Williams, Alastair. 1995. "Functionalism, Modernism and Tradition: The Music of Friedrich Goldmann". Tempo no. 193 (July): 27–30.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bimberg, Siegfried. 1987. "Investigations on the Change of Attitudes Towards Contemporary Music". Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, no. 91 (Eleventh International Seminar on Research in Music Education, Spring): 6–9.
  • Hennenberg, Fritz. 1980. "Die Mittlere Generation: Versuch über sechs Komponisten der DDR". German Studies Review 3, no. 2 (May): 289-321.
  • Reiner Kontressowitz: Fünf Annäherungen – zu den Solokonzerten von Friedrich Goldmann, Altenburg: Kamprad 2014
  • Reiner Kontressowitz: Annäherungen II – Zur Biographie und zu den Sinfonien von Friedrich Goldmann, Altenburg: Kamprad 2020
  • Reiner Kontressowitz: Der Weg zur "5. Sinfonie", Neumünster: Von Bockel 2021
  • Motte-Haber, Helga de la. 1992. “…fast erstarrte Unruhe—im Gespräch mit Friedrich Goldmann”. Positionen 11:27–29.
  • Noeske, Nina. 2007. Musikalische Dekonstruktion: neue Instrumentalmusik in der DDR. KlangZeiten—Musik, Politik und Gesellschaft 3. Cologne, Weimar: Böhlau Verlag. ISBN 9783412200459.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1988a. "Angemessene Reaktionen: Friedrich Goldmanns Ensemblekonzert 2". MusikTexte, no. 23:10–13.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1988b. "Neubau mit Einsturzgefahr: Analytische Reflexionen zur Sinfonie 3 von Friedrich Goldmann". Melos 50, no. 2:2–32.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1974. "Die Analyse. Sinfonie für Orchester von Friedrich Goldmann". Musik und Gesellschaft 24, no. 3 (March): 143–49.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1978. "Sinfonie 2 von Friedrich Goldmann". Musik und Gesellschaft 28, no. 1 (January): 30–35.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1980. "Fünf Gesichtspunkte zum Konzert für Oboe und Orchester von Friedrich Goldmann". Musik und Gesellschaft 30, no. 6:329–33.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1986. "Das Ensemble ist zentral: Friedrich Goldmann, ein Porträt". Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 147, no. 6 (June): 22–27.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1989a. "Masse als kompositorisches Phänomen". Dissonanz/Dissonance, no. 20 (May) 14–19.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1989b. "Dialog ohne Kompromiss: Das Klavierkonzert von Friedrich Goldmann". Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 31, no. 4:244–53.
  • Schneider, Frank. 1989c. "Postmoderne als Programm und Praxis des Komponierens: Problemfeld Neue DDR-Musik". In Das Projekt Moderne und die Postmoderne, edited by Wilfried Gruhn, 153–80. Hochschuldokumentationen zu Musikwissenschaft und Musikpädagogik Musikhochschule Freiburg 2. Regensburg: Gustav Bosse Verlag [de].
  • Schneider, Frank. 2009. "Friedrich Goldmann in memoriam". Positionen: Texte zur aktuellen Musik, no. 81 (November): 19–20.
  • Schneider, Frank, and Friedrich Goldmann. 1999. "Einfach bleiben wird nichts: Frank Schneider im Gespräch mit Friedrich Goldmann". In Bach: Thema und Variationen—Ein Lese-Buch zum Konzertprojekt—Konzerthaus Berlin, Saison 1999–2000, edited by Habakuk Traber, 27–36. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag. ISBN 3-89244-393-9.
  • Schneider, Frank. 2021. "Form und Klang. Essays und Analysen zur Musik von Friedrich Goldmann", Neumünster: von Bockel
  • Thiele, Ulrike. 2008. "Leipzig, 6. und 7. Juli 2007: 'Die Rezeption der Wiener Schule in Nordosteuropa'". Die Musikforschung 61, no. 1 (January–March): 51–52.
  • Williams, Alastair. 2013. Music in Germany since 1968. Music since 1900. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87759-6.

External links[edit]