Klaus Huber (composer)

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Klaus Huber (1981)

Klaus Huber (born November 30, 1924 in Bern ; † October 2, 2017 in Perugia , Italy ) was a Swiss composer , violinist, conductor and composition teacher .


Klaus Huber studied music theory and composition at the University of Music and Theater in Zurich with Willy Burkhard from 1947 to 1955 , after completing his training at the teachers' seminar in Küsnacht and his initial school service in the Bernese Oberland , and until 1949 also the violin with Stefi Geyer . From 1949 to 1955 Huber was a violin teacher at the Zurich Conservatory. 1955/1956 followed by a study visit with Boris Blacher in Berlin . With his chamber cantata Des Engels Salutation to the Soul , Huber achieved international recognition for the first time at the World Music Days of the International Society for New Music in Rome in 1959 . Cooperations followed, for example with the flautist Aurèle Nicolet .

From 1960 to 1963, Huber taught music history at the Lucerne Conservatory , and from 1964 he taught music theory, composition and instrumentation at the Music Academy of the City of Basel . From 1973 to 1990 he held a professorship for composition at the Musikhochschule Freiburg i. Br. In . Huber's students include Brian Ferneyhough , Wolfgang Rihm , Daniel Glaus , André Richard , Reinhard Febel , Ulrich Gasser , Michael Jarrell , Younghi Pagh-Paan , Toshio Hosokawa , Kaija Saariaho , Alfred Schweizer and Hans Wüthrich .

Klaus Huber lived with his third wife and former student, the composer Younghi Pagh-Paan in Bremen and Panicale (Italy). His father was the teacher, composer and conductor Walter Simon Huber .

Musical creation

Klaus Huber's starting point was the serial music that followed Anton Webern . However, outside of the serial technology, he always left design leeway open. Since the 1980s he increasingly turned to Arabic music . This also resulted in his occupation with Arabic rhythm models , microtonality (especially third tones) and Arabic poetry.

Huber's work is based on spiritual questions. His compositions are evidence of social and political commitment, but despite their use of sacred texts such as B. the Bible or medieval mystics not in the true sense of Christianity, but rather humanistically motivated. Large-scale oratorio compositions such as ... inside full figure ... , his contribution to the Dürer year 1971, are of central importance . Chamber music also played an important role. Increasingly, Huber also included the scenic design of the music outside of oratorio and opera .

Honors, memberships

Works (selection)

Stage works

  • Schwarzerde (1997–2001) Stage work in nine sequences. Text: Michael Schindhelm in collaboration with Klaus Huber, based on poems and prose texts by Ossip Mandelstam
  • In Paradise or The Old Man from the Mountains (1975). Five schematic opera acts over a large orchestra. Texts: Alfred Jarry , German version by Eugen Helmlé

Orchestral works

  • Quod est pax? - Vers la raison du coeur… (2006/07) for orchestra with five solo voices and an Arabic percussion. Text: Jacques Derrida , Octavio Paz , Mahmoud Darwisch, Klaus Huber
  • Reversal - being in the light ... (1997) Diptych for choir / choir voices, mezzo-soprano and small orchestra. Text: Ossip Mandelstam, Max Frisch , Elias Canetti , Martin Buber
  • Lamentationes de fine vicesimi saeculi (1992/94) for orchestra in four groups with Sufi singers
  • Spes contra spem: A Contra Paradigm to “Götterdämmerung” (1986–1989) Text: Bertolt Brecht , Elias Canetti, Georg Herwegh , Rosa Luxemburg , Friedrich Nietzsche , Reinhold Schneider , Dorothee Sölle , Richard Wagner , Peter Weiss
  • Protuberanzen (1985/1986) Three small pieces for orchestra
  • Humiliated - enslaved - abandoned - despised ... (1975 / 1978–1983) for solos, choir and orchestra. Text: Ernesto Cardenal , Florian Knobloch, George Jackson, Carolina Maria de Jesus , Prophet Isaiah
  • … Ausgespannt… (1972) Sacred music for baritone voice, five instrumental groups, loudspeakers, tape (2 × 2 tracks) and organ
  • … Inside full figure… (1971) for choir voices, loudspeakers, tape (8 or 4 tracks) and large orchestra. Texts: Johannes Apocalypse (German, English, Latin, Greek) and Albrecht Dürer
  • Tenebrae (1967) for large orchestra
  • Soliloquia (1964) oratorio for solos, two choirs and large orchestra. Texts: Aurelius Augustine

Ensemble works

  • Remember Golgotha ​​... (2010) for double bass, 18 instruments and live electronics
  • Miserere hominibus ... (2005/2006) cantata for seven solo voices and seven instrumentalists. Text: Old Testament (51st Psalm), Octavio Páz ( Il Cántaro Roto ), Mahmoud Darwish ( Murale ), Carl Améry ( Global Exit ), Jacques Derrida
  • The soul must rise from the mount ... (2002) for cello solo, baryton solo, contratenor (or alto) and 37 instrumentalists. Text: Fragments of a poem by Mahmoud Darwish
  • L'ombre de notre âge (1998/1999) counterfactor for chamber ensemble
  • Lamentationes Sacrae et Profanae ad Responsoria Iesualdi (1993 / 1996–1997) for six singers and two instrumentalists Text: Jeremia , Klaus Huber, Ernesto Cardenal, Mahmud Doulatabadi
  • La terre des hommes (1987–1989) for mezzo-soprano, countertenor / speaker and eighteen instruments. Text: Simone Weil , Ossip Mandelstam
  • Intarsi (1993/1994) Chamber Concerto for piano and seventeen instrumentalists
  • The Earth Turns on the Horns of a Bull (1992/1993) assemblage for four Arab and two European musicians and tape. Text: Mahmud Doulatabadi
  • The Plowed Time (1990) In memoriam Luigi Nono . Room music for viola d'amore , mezzo-soprano, high tenor, speaker, 2 mixed ensembles, choir voices and instruments distributed in the room. Text: Ossip Mandelstam
  • Remember G ... (1977) for double bass and 18 instrumentalists
  • On the quiet night time (1958) for soprano, flute, viola and violoncello. Texts: Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg
  • Des Engels Salutation to the Soul (1957) Chamber cantata for tenor, flute, clarinet, horn and harp. Texts: Johann Georg Albini
  • Evening cantata (1952) for bass, 2 flutes, viola, cello and harpsichord

Chamber music

  • A Voice from Guernica (2003/2008) for baritone and mandola / mandoloncello (in Scordatura). Alternative version for alto, long-necked and Arabic percussion. Text: Ariel Dorfman
  • Ecce homines (1997/98) for string quintet
  • Agnus Dei cum recordatione (1990/1991) for voices and instruments. Text: Gösta Neuwirth (in Old French translation), Latin Mass
  • Des Dichters Pflug (1989) for violin, viola and violoncello (all three-tone)
  • ... from time to time ... (1984/1985) Second string quartet
  • Ein Hauch von Unzeit IV (1976) for soprano with accordion ad. lib.
  • A Touch of Untimely III (1972) for 2–7 players (variable line-up)
  • A Touch of Untimely I (1972) Plainte sur la perte de la réflexion musicale - quelques madrigaux pour flûte seule ou flûte avec quelques instruments quelquonques ...
  • Asceticism (1966) for flute, speaking voice and tape. Texts: Günter Grass
  • Noctes intelligibilis lucis (1961) for oboe and harpsichord
  • Six small vocalises (1961) (1955) for alto voice, violin and violoncello

Vocal music

Solo works

  • Intarsimile (2010) for violin solo
  • Winter seeds (1993) for accordion
  • ... Plainte ... (1990) for viola d'amore in third- tone tuning
  • Leafless (1975) for prepared piano
  • A Touch of Untime II (1972) Plainte sur la perte de la réflexion musicale pour piano à une main et demie ... for piano


  • Plowed time. Collected Writings. Edited by Max Nyffeler. Edition MusikTexte, Cologne 1999, ISBN 978-3-9803151-5-9 .
  • From time to time. The overall work. Conversations with Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf. Wolke, Hofheim 2009, ISBN 978-3-936000-36-8 .


Edited volumes and encyclopedias

Further writings about Klaus Huber

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Bernhard Neuhoff: You always have to reinvent yourself (Deutschlandradio Kultur on March 28, 2009).
  2. Dominik Sackmann : Huber, Walter Simon. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  3. Prize winners - Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Foundation. Retrieved July 17, 2019 .
  4. Honorary Members. iscm.org, accessed June 29, 2020.