Heinz Winbeck

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Heinz Winbeck
Born(1946-02-11)11 February 1946
Ergolding, Bavaria, Germany
Died26 March 2019(2019-03-26) (aged 73)
Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Academic teacher

Heinz Winbeck (11 February 1946 – 26 March 2019)[1] was a German composer, conductor and academic teacher. He is known for five large-scale symphonies, which he programmatically subtitled, such as "Tu Solus" and "De Profundis". As a composition teacher in Würzburg, he shaped a generation of students.[1]


Winbeck was born in a small village named Piflas, now part of Ergolding, close to Landshut in Lower Bavaria, into a family of farmers. He started his musical studies in 1964 at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich: piano with Magda Rusy and conducting with Fritz Rieger.[2] From 1967 he studied conducting at the Musikhochschule München with Jan Koetsier and composition with Harald Genzmer and Günter Bialas,[1] graduating with the Staatsexamen (State Exam) in 1973.[2] After his studies, he was encouraged especially by Wilhelm Killmayer to find his personal style. Like Wolfgang Rihm and Manfred Trojahn, he turned to a Neue Einfachheit (New simplicity) and subjectivity.[1]

From 1974 to 1978 he worked as a composer and conductor at the Stadttheater Ingolstadt, also for the festival Luisenburg-Festspiele [de].[2] In 1980 he taught at the Musikhochschule München.[2] In 1981 he studied for half a year at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris on a scholarship from the State of Bavaria.[1] In 1987 he taught ear training and music theory at the Musikhochschule München.[2] In 1988 he was appointed professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg.[2] Among his students were Tobias PM Schneid [de], the composer and pianist Rudi Spring and Stefan Hippe [de].[1] Winbeck was composer in residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Cabrillo, California.[2]

From 1991 Winbeck lived in Schambach near Riedenburg in Lower Bavaria, in a monastery that he and his wife Gerlinde modernised.[2] He died on 26 March 2019 in a clinic in Regensburg.[1]


Winbeck revived the genre of the symphony, motivated by the need for existential expression. He composed five large-scale symphonies between 1983 and 2011, comparable to the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. By giving them titles, he reflected topics such as history as a sequence of wars and cruelty, the guilt of the generation of his parents, endangered ecology, the loneliness of humanity in the cosmos, and facing near-death.[1]

Winbeck's First Symphony was premiered in 1984 at the Donaueschinger Tage für Neue Musik and recorded by WERGO, combined with Winbeck's second string quartet, with Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken.[3] Winbeck's Fifth Symphony "Jetzt und in der Stunde des Todes" (Now and in the hour of death) reflects sketches of Anton Bruckner's unfinished 9th Symphony. The work in three movements of about 55 minutes was played by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies on 1 March 2010 at the Stift St. Florian.[4][5] The same year Winbeck started a collaboration with the Landestheater Linz, which resulted in the ballet "Lebensstürme" (Storms of life).[6][7]

The composer commented on his way of composing:

Ich kann nichts anderes sagen, als daß ich buchstäblich nur das zu Papier bringe, das, würde ich es nicht tun, mich zersprengte.
(All I can say is that I literally only put down on paper that which, were I not to do so, would cause me to explode.)[1]


Winbeck's works are published by Bärenreiter.[2]


Symphonic works

  • Sonoscillant (1971), music for cello and string orchestra
  • Entgegengesang (1973), for orchestra
  • Lenau-Fantasien (1979), for cello and orchestra
  • Denk ich an Haydn (1982), three fragments for orchestra
  • Tu Solus (You alone), First Symphony (1983/85)
  • Second Symphony (1985/86)
  • Grodek, Third Symphony (1987/88), for orchestra, alto and speaker, text: Georg Trakl
  • De Profundis (Out of the deep, Psalm 130), Fourth Symphony
  • Jetzt und in der Stunde des Todes (Now and in the hour of death, from the Ave Maria), Fifth Symphony

Chamber music

  • Pas de deux (1971) for flute and xylophon
  • Tempi capricciosi, First String Quartet (1979)
  • Tempi notturni, Second String Quartet (1979)
  • Blick in den St.&nrom (1982) for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos
  • Jagdquartett (Hunting quartet), Third String Quartet (1984)


In 1994 Heinz and Gerhilde Winbeck won a prize for the historical renovation by the Hypo-Foundation.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Preuß, Torsten (27 March 2019). "Ein großer Unzeitgemäßer" (in German). BR. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Heinz Winbeck". Bärenreiter. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Erste Sinfonie / Zweites Streichquartett". Schott Music. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Winbeck "Finale" finally performed". The Bruckner Discography. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Winbeck, Heinz / Fünfte Sinfonie. Jetzt und in der Stunde des Todes / nach Motiven insbesondere des Finales der IX. Sinfonie von Anton Bruckner für Orchester" (in German). Bärenreiter. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Linz, Landestheater Linz, Premiere Die Winterreise Ballett in zwei Teilen von Jochen Ulrich 26.2.2011" (in German). ioco.de. 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  7. ^ Maintz, Marie Luise (January 2011). "Quintessenz statt Potpourri. Heinz Winbeck nähert sich Schubert und Bruckner". Takte (in German). Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ "1994 Anerkennungen" (in German). Hypo-Foundation. 2011. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)

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