Peter Ruzicka

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Peter Ruzicka (born 3 July 1948) is a German composer and conductor of classical music. He was director of the Hamburg State Opera, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg and the Salzburg Festival. Ruzicka was managing director and Intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival and is professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. The list of his compositions includes numerous orchestral and chamber music works as well as the opera "Celan", about the poet Paul Celan, which was premiered in Dresden in 2001.[1] His opera "Hölderlin" had its premiere at the Berlin State Opera in 2008.[1] Ruzicka's third opera "Benjamin", about the philosopher Walter Benjamin, was written in 2015/16 for the Hamburg State Opera and premiered in 2018.[2][1]


Ruzicka was born in Düsseldorf. He received his early musical training (piano, oboe and composition) at the Hamburg Conservatory. He studied composition with Hans Werner Henze and Hans Otte. He studied law and musicology in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin (interdisciplinary doctoral thesis: Die Problematik eines "ewigen Urheberpersönlichkeitsrechts", Berlin, 1977).[3][4][5]

Ruzicka was artistic director of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1987 and indendant of the Hamburg State Opera and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg from 1988 to 1997.[6] Moreover, he was Artistic Advisor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam from 1997 to 1999. In 1999 he was named President of the Bavarian Theatre Academy. From 2001 to 2006, Ruzicka took over the Artistic Directorship of the Salzburg Festival.[4] Ruzicka served as artistic director of the Munich Biennale between 1996 and 2014.[4] He took over from Hans Werner Henze, and was succeeded by the dual directorship of Manos Tsangaris and Daniel Ott. Ruzicka was managing director and Intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival from 2015 to 2020.[7][8]

Ruzicka was appointed professor for cultural management at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in 1990.[4] The composer is member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and of the Free Academy of Arts in Hamburg.[9]

Ruzicka's works have been performed by leading international orchestras and ensembles like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Munich, German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Orchestre de Paris, Czech Philharmony, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Montréal and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors like Gerd Albrecht, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Antonio Pappano, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christian Thielemann have performed his works.

As a conductor Ruzicka has directed the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin – recording CD productions of works by Mahler, Pettersson and Schreker – the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg – recording a cycle of 12 orchestral works by Henze –, and the Munich Philharmonic amongst others. Ruzicka has also conducted three CDs of music by George Enescu for the cpo label.


Ruzicka's works are published by Hans Sikorski.[10]


  • Celan, Musiktheater in sieben Entwürfen (1998–1999)
  • Hölderlin, Eine Expedition (2007)
  • Benjamin, Musiktheater in sieben Stationen (2015–2016)[2]


  • Metamorphosen über ein Klangfeld von Joseph Haydn for Large Orchestra (1990)
  • "... das Gesegnete, das Verfluchte ...", 4 Orchestra Sketches (1991)
  • Tallis (1993)
  • Nachtstück (1997)
  • "... Vorgefühle ..." (1998)
  • Nachklang (1999)
  • Memorial (2001)
  • Affluence (2003)
  • "... ins Offene ...", Music for 22 Strings (2005–2006)
  • Vorecho, 8 Rudiments (2005)
  • Maelstrom (2007)
  • "...Zurücknehmen..." (2009)
  • Mahler – Bild for orchestra (2010)
  • "Trans" for chamber ensemble (2010)
  • Clouds for orchestra and string quartet (2012/13)
  • "Zwei Übermalungen (Über Unstern, R.W.") (2010–2012)


  • "...den Impuls zum Weitersprechen erst empfinge...", Music for Viola and Orchestra (1981)
  • "...Inseln, randlos ..." for Violin, Chamber Chorus and Orchestra (1994–1995)
  • Erinnerung for Clarinet and Orchestra (2001)
  • ...Über die Grenze for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (2009)
  • "Spiral" for horn quartet and orchestra (2013)

Chamber music[edit]

  • ... über ein Verschwinden, String Quartet No.3 (1992)
  • "... sich verlierend" for String Quartet and Narrator (1996)
  • Tombeau for Flute (Alto Flute, Bass Flute) and String Quartet (2000)
  • Sturz for String Quartet (2004)
  • Nachschrift, 3 Pieces for Cello and Piano (2008)
  • Erinnerung und Vergessen, String Quartet No.6 with Soprano (2008)


  • Acht Gesänge nach Fragmenten von Nietzsche (8 Songs after Fragments of Nietzsche) for Mezzo-Soprano (or Baritone) and Piano (1992)
  • Die Sonne sinkt, 8 Songs after Fragments of Nietzsche for Baritone (or Mezzo-soprano) and Orchestra (1997–2000)
  • Recherche (-im Innersten) for Chorus and Orchestra (1998)
  • Celan Symphonie for Baritone, Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra (2002)
  • "... und möchtet Ihr an mich die Hände legen ...", 5 Fragments by Hölderlin for Baritone and Piano (2006–2007)


  • Parergon, 7 Sketches to Hölderlin (2006)
  • Five Scenes for Piano (2009)

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Werke Peter Ruzicka" (PDF). Hamburg: Hans Sikorski. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b Goldmann, A.J. (24 June 2018). "Hannah Arendt and Walter Benjamin Don't Talk. They Sing". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  3. ^ Reuter, Stephanie (13 July 2019). "Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Ruzicka". (in German). Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hinterberger, Julia (February 2015). "Peter Ruzicka" (PDF). Arbeitsschwerpunkt Salzburger Musikgeschichte an der Abteilung für Musikwissenschaft der Universität Mozarteum. Salzburg: Universität Mozarteum. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Peter Ruzicka". Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung (in German). Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Schmidt, Dörte (2001). "Ruzicka, Peter". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0.
  7. ^ "Peter Ruzicka appointed Intendant and Managing Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival as of 1 July 2015". Osterfestspiele Salzburg. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Peter Ruzicka will step down as Intendant in 2020". Osterfestspiele Salzburg. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Peter Ruzicka". Biografie WHO'S WHO (in German). Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Composers Works: Ruzicka, Peter". Sikorski Music Publishers (in German). 23 July 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "Peter Ruzicka – The Living Composers Project". Home – The Living Composers Project. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 1760. Retrieved 22 November 2012.


  • Ruzicka, Peter; Schäfer, Thomas (1998). Ruzicka – Festschrift zum 50. Geburtstag (in German). Hamburg: Musikverlag Sikorski.

External links[edit]