Heiner Goebbels

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Heiner Goebbels (2010)

Heiner Goebbels (born August 17, 1952 in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse ) is a German musician , composer , radio play writer , director and professor of applied theater studies .


Goebbels studied sociology and music in Freiburg im Breisgau and Frankfurt am Main , was a co-founder of the so -called left radical wind orchestra and played as a musician in the Goebbels / Harth duo from 1975 to 1988 and in the experimental rock group Cassiber from 1982 to 1992 . He released about 20 CDs.

After numerous compositions for theater and film, he began to compose audio pieces in the mid-1980s, mostly based on texts by Heiner Müller . Since the late 1980s, compositions for ensemble and staged concerts have followed, e.g. B. The Man in the Elevator and The Liberation of Prometheus . In the early 1990s he composed orchestral and ensemble pieces for the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie , the Ensemble Modern , and later for the Berliner Philharmoniker (2003) the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Hilliard Ensemble . He was composer in residence at the Lucerne Festival and the Bochum Symphony Orchestra .

Since the mid-1990s, the focus of his work has been on musical theater pieces, e.g. B. with the Ensemble Modern , which is developed in a team of dramaturges, stage designers, lighting designers, costume designers and sound designers and which are invited to many theater and music festivals around the world. In them text, image, music, light, movement and scene are in a floating, equal relationship.

His work also includes sound and video installations, e.g. B. “Timeios” for the Center Pompidou in Paris, “Genko An” (Berlin 2008, Darmstadt 2012, Lyon 2014, Moscow 2017), “Stifter's Things - The Unguided Tour” (London 2012, Duisburg 2013), “The Province of Menschen "(Dresden 2016) and numerous collaborations with video artists and choreographers. Heiner Goebbels was represented at the documenta Kassel in 1982, 1987 and 1997 with concerts, installations and scenic works .

Heiner Goebbels was professor at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen from 1999 to 2018 , which he headed from 2003 to 2011. Goebbels is a member of the Academy of Arts , the German Academy of Performing Arts as well as the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts , the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts , Munich. From 2006 to 2018 Goebbels was President of the Hessian Theater Academy , an association of several universities and theaters in the Rhine-Main area .

Heiner Goebbels was appointed artistic director and artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale - International Festival of the Arts 2012–2014. Over the course of this three-year program he curated, produced and presented new works by the artists Robert Wilson , Lemi Ponifasio , Douglas Gordon , Michal Rovner , Gregor Schneider , Ryoji Ikeda , Boris Charmatz , Mathilde Monnier , Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker , Tim Etchells , Rimini Protokoll and many others other. He directed Europeras 1 & 2 by John Cage (2012), Delusion of the Fury by Harry Partch (2013) and De Materie by Louis Andriessen (2014).

He lives in Frankfurt am Main.

There is no relationship to the Nazi politician Joseph Goebbels .


Heiner Goebbels has received several national and international radio play prizes for his radio plays, including: a. with the Prix ​​Italia 1986, 1992 and 1996, the Karl Sczuka Prize 1984, 1990 and 1992, the Radio Play Prize of the War Blind 1985, the Radio Play Prize of the Academy of the Arts 1989, the World Silver Medal of the New York Festivals 2002 and the Radio Ostankino -Prize Moscow 1996.

In 2003 he was awarded the German Critics' Prize in the music department . The city of Frankfurt am Main honored him with the Goethe plaque in 2002 , and the state of Hesse with the Hessian Culture Prize in 1993 . In 2008 he was awarded the Binding Culture Prize. In 2010 he received the Rhineland-Palatinate Art Prize .

In addition to two Grammy nominations for Surrogate Cities and Eislermaterial , he has received many international theater awards, including the European Theater Award New Theatrical Realities in 2001 and the International Theater Institute Award in 2006 .

In 2011 he was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Prize of the State of Hesse and the Hertie Foundation . The Birmingham Conservatoire awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2012 for his life's work .

In 2012, Goebbels was the fourth prize winner to receive the International Ibsen Prize , one of the world's most important theater prizes .

In 2018 he was appointed to the Georg Büchner Professorship by the President of the Justus Liebig University in Gießen as the first incumbent.

The National Academy for Theater and Film Arts, Sofia (Bulgaria) awarded him an honorary doctorate for his life's work in 2018.

Music theater works and compositions

  • A House of Call (for large orchestra) 2020
  • Under Construction (for large orchestra) Seattle, 2019
  • Everything That Happened And Would Happen (Manchester, New York, Ruhrtriennale) 2018
  • De Materie (Louis Andriessen, Ruhrtriennale), 2014
  • Delusion of the Fury (Harry Partch, Ruhrtriennale), 2013
  • When the mountain changed its clothing (music theater), 2012
  • Europeras 1 & 2 (John Cage, Ruhrtriennale), 2012
  • I went to the house but did not enter (scenic concert in three pictures), 2008
  • Stifter's Things (performative installation), 2007
  • Songs of Wars I have seen (scenic concert), 2007
  • Eraritjaritjaka - musée des phrases (music theater), 2004
  • Ou bien Sunyatta (for griot singing, kora and orchestra), 2004
  • From a diary (for large orchestra), 2003
  • Note from a fanfare (for large orchestra), 2003
  • Landscape with Distant Relatives (Opera), 2002
  • Hashirigaki (music theater), 2000
  • ... même soir. (scenic concert), 2000
  • Eislermaterial (staged concert), 1998
  • Max Black (musical theater), 1998
  • Walden (for large orchestra), 1998
  • Landscape with man being killed by a snake (theater sketch ), 1997
  • Nothing more (for orchestra), 1996
  • Schwarz auf Weiss / Black on White (music theater for ensemble), 1996
  • Industry and Idleness (for orchestra), 1996
  • The Repetition (music theater), 1995
  • Surrogate Cities (for large orchestra, voice, mezzo-soprano and sampler), 1994
  • Ou bien le débarquement désastreux (music theater), 1993
  • La Jalousie (for ensemble), 1992
  • Heracles 2 (for ensemble), 1991
  • Roman dogs (musical theater), 1991
  • The Liberation of Prometheus (audio pieces), 1985, (staged concert), 1991
  • Wolokolamsker Chaussee I – V (audio pieces), 1989
  • Liberation (for ensemble and speaker), 1989
  • Red Run (for ensemble), 1988
  • The man in the elevator (staged concert), 1987
  • Depraved Shore (audio piece), 1984
  • The Journey into a Hidden Life (feature film), 1983
  • Cassiber (with Chris Cutler , Christoph Anders and Alfred Harth ) Man or Monkey, 1982 / Beauty & the beast, 1984 / Perfect worlds, 1986
  • Berlin Q-Damm 12.4.81 / Jakob Apfelböck (sound collage / audio piece), 1981
  • Bertolt Brecht: Time is running out (with Dagmar Krause and Alfred Harth), 1981
  • The penetrated man / Indian for tomorrow (with Dagmar Krause and Alfred Harth), 1981
  • From sprinkling the garden (with Alfred Harth), 1977
  • Four fists for Hanns Eisler (with Alfred Harth), 1977
  • So-called radical left-wing wind orchestra (with Alfred Harth, Rolf Riehm , Christoph Anders and many others), 1977 / (with Yellow Pears), 1980

Radio plays

  • 2006: Landscape with distant relatives (also composition and direction) (radio play - SWR / Ensemble Modern )


  • 2019: "It's Beautiful Here ", Museo da Arte Bogota
  • 2018: Landscape Plays , Kunsthalle Gießen
  • 2017: Genko An 107031, Moscow
  • 2016: The Province of Man , 54 channel video installation, Dresden
  • 2014: Genko An 69006 / Listen profoundly. , Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon .
  • 2012: Genko An 64287 / A House full of Music , Mathildenhöhe
  • 1997: Landscape with Man Being Killed by a Snake, documenta X
  • 1987: Maelstromsüdpol, documenta 8


  • Heiner Goebbels, Music Concepts Edited by Ulrich Tadday / New Series 179, 2018 ISBN 978-3-86916-649-0
  • Diedrich Diederichsen : The Steampunktdisneyland on the Ruhr. Heiner Goebbel's last Ruhr Triennale is rethinking music theater. , in: Theater heute, 55th year, October 2014, Der Theaterverlag - Friedrich Berlin, ISSN  0040-5507 , pp. 6–11.
  • Heiner Goebbels: 'Aesthetics of Absence - Texts on Theater'. Verlag Theater der Zeit, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-940737-82-3 .
  • Nikolaus Müller-Schöll and Heiner Goebbels (eds.): Heiner Müller speak . Verlag Theater der Zeit, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940737-38-0 .
  • Wolfgang Sandner (Ed.): Heiner Goebbels. Composition as a staging . Henschel Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-88661-282-1 .
  • Holger Schulze: Heiner Goebbels: Wolokolamsker Chaussee . In: Das aleatorische Spiel, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-7705-3472-7 , pp. 301-307.


  • Heiner Goebbels - musician and composer. Musical search for traces in the noise of everyday life. Documentary film, BR Germany, 1985, 43 min., Script and director: Peter Kemper, production: Hessischer Rundfunk , film information from ARD .
  • Heiner Goebbels: Black on White. Music theater for 18 musicians from Ensemble Modern (1996). Concert excerpt and conversation, Germany, 2006, 15 min., Script and direction: Peider A. Defilla, production: BR-alpha , series: musica viva. forum of contemporary music, film information from ARD .

Web links

Commons : Heiner Goebbels  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ulrich Stock: Radical Music. A portrait of the musician Heiner Goebbels , Die Zeit , June 27, 1986
  2. https://www.heinergoebbels.com/en/archive/texts/interviews/read/112 www.heinergoebbels.com: Music that keeps experiences: “And he actually has an uncle who was called Joseph Goebbels. It is also not related. "
  3. ^ The International Ibsen Award: Heiner Goebbels , accessed on April 23, 2018
  4. ^ Georg Büchner Senior Professorship for Prof. Heiner Goebbels , Justus Liebig University Giessen , February 27, 2018
  5. Museum page on the exhibition , accessed on May 7, 2014.