Heinz Werner Zimmermann

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Heinz Werner Zimmermann (born 11 August 1930 in Freiburg im Breisgau) is a German composer.

Zimmermann had his first composition instruction from 1946 to 1948 with Julius Weismann and studied from 1950 to 1954 in Heidelberg with Wolfgang Fortner as well as at the Kirchenmusikalisches Institut Heidelberg (Institute for Church Music) there. After passing his examinations at the Freiburg Conservatory under Harald Genzmer, he became Fortner’s successor in Heidelberg. Here he maintained close contacts with the musicologist Thrasyboulos Georgiades, whose rhythm and language studies influenced him the most, along with his occupation with American spirituals and jazz. From 1963 to 1976 Heinz Werner Zimmermann was director of the Spandauer Kirchenmusikschule (Spandau school of church-music) in Spandau, and then from 1975 to 1996 as successor to Kurt Hessenberg as composition teacher at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (Brusniak 2001).

Zimmermann’s best-known works are his sacred motets with plucked double bass, his organ psalms, and his "Prosalieder". Among his chief works are his Missa profana, the sacred oratorio The Bible of Spirituals as well as his Symphonia sacra.

Amongst other honors, Zimmermann has been awarded the Music Prizes of the cities of Stuttgart and Berlin, a Villa Massimo Stipend in 1965/66, and received in 1982 the Johann Sebastian Bach Prize. The American Wittenberg University in Springfield bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate, Zimmermann wrote three American theses, including one at the Stanford University in California. Zimmermann is married to the organist Renate Zimmermann [de].


  • Brusniak, Friedhelm. 2001. "Zimmermann, Heinz Werner". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Brusniak, Friedhelm. 2005. Heinz Werner Zimmermann. Tutzing: Schneider. ISBN 3-7952-1178-6
  • Brusniak, Friedhelm, and Heinz Werner Zimmermann. 2000. Komposition und Kontemplation. Tutzing: Schneider. ISBN 3-7952-1013-5