Heiner Goebbels  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Heiner Goebbels (born August 17, 1952) is a German composer and music director.

Goebbels, who studied Sociology and Music in Frankfurt/Main, is a composer notable for his mixture of styles, drawing from sources as varied as classical music, jazz, and rock music. He started playing Eislerian music in a duo with saxophonist Alfred Harth and composing music for theatre, film, and ballet, and has continued to do so, although he has since then broadened his repertoire to concerts and his oeuvre has recently come to include the opera Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten (Landscape with Distant Relatives, 2002).

Goebbels co-founded the avant-garde rock group Cassiber (1982–1992) with Harth, Chris Cutler and Christoph Anders. They toured extensively across Europe, Asia and North America, and made five albums. In October 1983 Cassiber (minus Anders) joined Duck and Cover, a commission from the Berlin Jazz Festival, for a performance of the "Berlin Programme" in West Berlin, followed by another in February 1984 in East Berlin. The "Berlin Programme" was created and directed by Goebbels.

Much of his better known work, however, originated from his close collaboration with the East German writer Heiner Müller, resulting in stage compositions as well as shorter pieces (concerts as well as audio plays) loosely based on Müller texts, such as Verkommenes Ufer (Waste Shore, 1984), Die Befreiung des Prometheus (The Liberation of Prometheus, 1985), or Wolokolamsker Chaussee (Volokolamsk Highway, 1989). Goebbels' attempts to fill the space between theatre and opera left blank due to traditional genre borderline drawing has led to projects such as Schwarz auf Weiss (Black on White, 1996) or Die Wiederholung (The Repetition, 1997). The political nature of his work is often referred to by critics. His interest in Heiner Müller can partly be explained by the political character of Müller's texts, as may be the case with his interest in Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, works by the latter he used in composing his staged concert Eislermaterial (1998).

Goebbels' work is being increasingly acknowledged as he is being played and staged around the world and as his recordings are being published. In 2000 he collaborated with Piano Circus and composer Richard Harris to produce Scutigeras, which received a live BBC radio premiere in the UK. His Surrogate Cities, a work for big orchestra dating from 1994 and featuring texts from Paul Auster, Heiner Müller, and Hugo Hamilton, was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Classical Contemporary Composition at the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2001. His Eislermaterial won him another Grammy nomination at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004, this time in the category Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without conductor). Also, Goebbels in recent years enjoyed the privilege of several guest professorships and nominations for composer-in-residence.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Heiner Goebbels" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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