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Classical Composers A-Z: Hans Werner Henze

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of the modern German composer Hans Werner Henze.

1st July, 1926 in Gutersloh, Westphalia

Franz, teacher


Went to school in Bielefeld, Westphalia, near Hanover, from five to 16. First attempts at composition at twelve.

Entered Brunswick Music School at 16.

Adult Life
Served in the army at 18, taken POW.

Studied at Heidelburg Church Music Institute at twenty. His music was first akin to Stravinsky’s, later to Schoenberg’s. Settled in Italy in 1952, adopted the Italian operatic style.

He wrote many operas, including Boulevard Solitude (1951), Konig Hirsch (1955) and ballets, including Jack Pudding (1949), Labyrinth (1951), and The Emperor’s Nightingale.

He adopts different styles at different periods. Orchestral items include six symphonies, two piano concertos and a cantata, El Cimarron (1970).

He is still alive.


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