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Friedrich Cerha

Composer Friedrich Cerha, born in Vienna in 1926, has long been considered one of the most important Austrian composers of our time. In 1958, he founded the Vienna-based ensemble die reihe. Cerha directed die reihe, an ensemble comprised of talented soloists, for decades. In 1960 and 1961, Cerha composed a work that became central to his compositional output - a cycle entitled Spiegel. In 1979, he completed Berg’s three-act opera Lulu, a work which garnered him international attention.

Friedrich Cerha has spent much of his career delving into various 20th century musical styles, such as twelve-tone technique, neoclassicism, and serial music. He has also maintained an interest in replicable emotional developments, which permeate both his orchestral and chamber works.

Music-theatre has also played an important role in Cerha’s compositional output. For example, Cerha created a version of Spiegel that included movement groups, lights, and objects.
In June 2013 the Münchener Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz presents in collaboration with the Volksoper Vienna Cerha’s new opera "Der Präsident", which will be performed afterwards in Austria.

In addition to his active compositional life, Friedrich Cerha taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna until 1988. His students have included Georg Friedrich Haas and Karlheinz Essl.

Friedrich Cerha was honoured with the 2012 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize.


Photo: Manu Theobald / Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung
As fascinating as ever: Cerha’s monumental opus Spiegel, in which he "investigates fundamental phenomena of musical creation." 
Rhapsodic, lyrical, virtuoso, and, in the end, even amusing: all these attributes come to mind as Cerha’s violin concerto is finished off with a charming punch line. 
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