updated 14 February 2023
© Friedrich Cerha

Friedrich Cerha

Austrian composer born 17 February 1926 in Vienna, died 14 February 2023 in this same city.

Friedrich Cerha was born in Vienna in 1926. He studied composition with Alfred Uhl, violin with Vasa Prihoda, and philosophy and German studies at the University of Vienna. During the 1950s, he was active in the Austrian section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). In 1958, he founded the die reihe ensemble in Vienna with Kurt Schwertsik. From 1956 to 1959, he participated in the Darmstadt Summer Courses.

In 1960-1961, he wrote a major orchestral cycle titled Spiegel that is considered to be a turning point in his career. In 1979, he completed Alban Berg’s Lulu, whose premiere was conducted by Pierre Boulez and directed by Patrice Chéreau in Paris, bringing him international renown.

Cerha explored the different schools of twentieth century composition, in particular serialism, in works such as Formation et solution for violin and piano (1956-1957) or Relazioni fragili, which premiered in Vienna in 1960. His interest in noise as a parameter in composition (Klangflächenkomposition) can be heard in such pieces as Mouvements I, II, III (1959), and his engagement with tradition stands out in such pieces as Und du….Radiophone Komposition (1962-1963), I. Keintate (1982), and II. Keintate (1985).

Theater plays a significant role in Cerha’s oeuvre. His cycle Spiegel includes a stage version that uses movement, light, and objects. After Spiegel he composed the musical Netzwerk (1967). His interest in Bertold Brecht led him to the opera Baal (1974-1980). Other stage pieces followed: Der Rattenfänger (1984-1986) and Der Riese vom Steinfeld (1997-1999).

Among his orchestral works, two major pieces stand out in the 1990s: Langegger Nachtmusik III (1990-1991) and Impulse (1992-1993). He also wrote a number of concertos during this period, including pour violon (2004), pour soprano, saxophone et orchestre (2003-2004), pour percussion et orchestre (2007-2008), and pour clarinette et orchestre (2008-2009).

Friedrich Cehra has remained prolific, and more recent works include pieces for orchestra - Instants (2006-2008) and Wie eine Tragikomödie (2008-2009) - for chamber ensemble - Acht Bagatellen (2009) and Vier Paraphrasen (2011) - for piano - Für Marino, Gestörte Meditation (for Mario Formenti, 2011) - and for voice - zwei Szenen, which premiered in February 2012 in a performance by the Neue Vocalsolisten.

The composer’s ninetieth birthday was celebrated with numerous performances by the Ensemble Scharoun, Klangforum Wien, and oenm Salzburg. At the beginning of its 2015-2016 season, London’s Wigmore Hall held a “Cerha Day.” In 2017-2018, his orchestral work Drei Sätze for orchestra (2012) premiered in Germany, and the following season, in 2018-2019, the premiere of Drei Situationen for string orchestra (2016) was performed by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Wien Modern Festival, conducted by Duncan Ward.

Friedrich Cehra also taught at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik from 1969 to 1988. His students included Georg-Friedrich Haas and Karlheinz Essl.

He has recieved many awards and honors, including the Grand Austrian State Prize for Music, a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2006, and the 2012 Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis. He is a member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2012


  • Site de Friedrich Cerha (voir ressources documentaires) ; 
  • Markus Grassl, Friedrich Cerha, Grove, Oxford University Press ;
  • Universal Edition.

By Pierre Rigaudière

Friedrich Cerha’s reputation was built slowly, but it was firmly established by the 2000s when he was recognized through various awards and distinctions. These include the 2006 Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale honoring the totality of his work, the International Composition Prize of Salzburg in 2011, and the Ernst von Siemens Foundation Music Prize in 2012.

It is worthwhile to compare Cerha with his contemporaries Hans Werner Henze and György Ligeti. As an adopted Austrian, Ligeti worked alongside Cerha in Vienna. Each shared similar musical concerns and their results were comparable, but Ligeti’s time at the Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne connected him with networks that allowed his early music to be heard in prominent locations throughout Germany in the 1960s. Henze’s early works, as well, were kindred in spirit and occasionally even in language with Cerha’s. But he also attained greater visibility early on, due in part to his operatic productions.

In France, Cerha continues to be reduced to his reputation as the composer who completed the third act of Alban Berg’s Lulu. A few may know him as the author of the Spiegel cycle. His output, however, was abundant. Even up to his last works, he demonstrated creative talent and frequent reinvention, yet he has been condemned to invisibility.

Austrian roots and cultural exchange

Cerha’s inherited culture is correlated with his geographical location. His acoustic environment is imbued with a tradition of brass writing received from Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner, both directly and via Berg. Cerha’s use of the strings, beyond the influence of the aforementioned composers, bears a uniquely Austrian mark. His predecessors’ love of nature is difficult to disassociate from his musical legacy.

As Austrian as he was, Cerha was never intentionally regionalist, and it is clear that his early works are influenced by Igor Stravinsky. More significantly than in the solo or duo violin pieces that the aspiring violinist composed as a child for his own practice as early as 1934, the Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano (1946-1947) bears influences from learned imitative writing and Paul Hindemith’s neoclassicism. The Meditation composed the following year for the same instruments conveys a touch of impressionism. The first movement of the Sonata No. 3 for violin and piano written in 1954 evokes the atonality of Arnold Schoenberg in sonata form, while the third movement echoes Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat.

During his studies, Cerha connected with underground avant-garde writers and painters as well as with emulators of Schoenberg’s circle within the Austrian section of the International Society for Contemporary Music.1 Cerha was tutored by Josef Polnauer, himself a student of Schoenberg. He also analyzed the Vienna School’s works and attended a composition seminar with Josef Matthias Hauer in 1953. It is not surprising that his language evolved toward dodecaphonic atonality. But his Divertimento for eight winds and percussion had not yet abandoned the neoclassical references to Bach’s counterpoint. In this regard, his compositional approach is like that of the young Henze.

Engagement and transmission

Cerha’s late recognition as a composer may be primarily due to his commitment to a separate, collective cause. He founded the ensemble Die Reihe with Kurt Schwertsik in 1958 and began an uninterrupted career as a conductor dedicated to promoting contemporary music. A series of concerts were launched on 22 March 1959 in the Schubert-Saal and later continued in the Mozart-Saal of the Wiener Konzerthaus. The concerts were aimed at an audience that had hardly heard the Vienna School’s music, let alone the music of Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, or Luigi Nono; they knew almost nothing about Edgard Varèse, John Cage, and Charles Ives, among the other pioneers highlighted by the ensemble. The young conductor quickly became a leading interpreter of contemporary music.

Cerha taught at the Academy of Music in Vienna from 1959 and, notably from 1976 to 1988 (the institution had by then become the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst), a course called “Composition, Notation and Interpretation of New Music.” His “Wege in unsere Zeit” (Ways into Our Time) concert series, initiated at the Wiener Konzerthaus with Hans Landesmann and directed until 1983, was a precursor to the Wien Modern festival founded in 1988 by Claudio Abbado. His involvement with Klangforum Wien, the new music ensemble that he presided over until 1999, was part of the same investment in promoting musical creation.

While it undoubtedly brought him much personal gain, his reconstruction of the missing act of Lulu was part of a commitment to a more historical cause. The work involved completing a third act based on the 1,300-bar Particell of which Berg had orchestrated only 416 and of which several dozen others were unclear. Cerha embarked on a long and meticulous examination of all the available material before beginning this delicate task. The project occupied him from 1962 to 1974 and again in 1976-1977 and 1981 for revisions. His having put himself in the mindset of Berg for such a long period highlights his deep attachment to Berg’s music. One might even wonder if it did not profoundly influence him in ways that periodically resurface in his music.

Darmstadt, Spiegel, and emancipation

From 1956, Cerha came under the influence of the Darmstadt summer courses, whose aesthetic and technical perspectives he found refreshing. The influence was obvious and immediate as he began to integrate serial procedures into his writing. But critics might view the new complexity in his writing as pointless or overpowering since it frequently resulted in harmonic blandness. The two movements of Deux éclats en réflexion (1956), whose title is an early sign of his interest in mirrors, are characterized by Webernian pointillism and a discourse organized into grouped events, respectively. Pointillism continues to be present in Formation et solution (1956-1957), where Cerha introduced a special kind of pizzicato; he also treated sound more wholistically and gave more prominence to resonance. In the works produced from 1959 to 1961, he began to feature glissandos, seeing them as a way to link rhythm, melody, and harmony in one clear and energetic gesture.

Next came a series of pieces whose titles reflect the prevalent Italian influence at Darmstadt. Witnessing other composers’ interest in reviving the harpsichord in contemporary compositions, Cerha composed Relazioni fragili (1956-1957). The piece has no text, but incorporates voices, as well as harpsichord, orchestrated in a way that suggests the influence of Nono or Boulez. Espressioni fondamentali (1957), for orchestra, returns to Viennese expressionism. Intersecazioni (1959), for violin, orchestra, and six vocalists, combines lyricism (mainly in the solo violin), pointillistic passages, harmonic stasis within sophisticated textures, overlapping chords fed by sustained vocals, and exploration of the voice similar to that which Luciano Berio did in greater depth in his musical theater.

Although both Cerha and Ligeti frequented the Viennese musical scene from 1958, they each turned away from serialism and toward the idea of a musical continuum. From Cerha’s Fasce (1959-1974) for large orchestra, a piece contemporary to Ligeti’s Apparitions (1958-1959), the convergence is evident. They were responding against the combinatorics of early Darmstadt serialism. Their more or less conscious need to neutralize the parameters of serialism resulted in a gradual and slippery slope of change in their music, in contrast to a development marked by discrete and identifiable steps.

In Mouvements for chamber ensemble, Cerha avoided melody and, to a lesser extent, rhythm and harmony. He came even closer to a wholistic style of writing with Fasce. He had no hopes for the piece to be performed in the short or even medium term, and he did not even create a clean version of the score until 1974, fifteen years after its composition. He remembered this stage as impulsive and liberating. Indeed, the interplay of shimmer, changes in density, and textural metamorphosis in the music reveals unmistakable jubilation. Ligeti’s influence is again evident, but differences between the two include that Cerha hardly considered the compositional process, while Ligeti later explored microtonal coloring in 1972 via the Double Concerto for flute and oboe.

The Spiegel cycle was drafted over seven years and finalized only in the decade following. In the notes accompanying his recording, Cerha invokes cybernetics and Norbert Wiener’s systems thinking, which lead him to apprehend “a musical piece as a system of elements that influence, interfere, disturb, and cancel each other out: a process that the overseeing system tries to regulate by restoring balance.”2 He came to treat components of the music as simultaneous and interacting processes. This perspective on composition can generate a level of complexity that is absent when components are rudimentarily handled as clusters. He saw this approach as an alternative to motivic development.

The title Spiegel, or “mirror,” is a nod toward Webern’s characteristic style. It also refers to the piece’s general cycle structure. Spiegel IV constitutes a center of symmetry around which the six other pieces in the cycle are paired. Spiegel III and V, for example, are more static than the others. The idea of reflection is also projected locally in certain sections of the cycle. For example, in some cases, symmetries are apparent in the score’s graphics. Cerha did not escape the influence of electronic music, which made a mark on the sound signature of many composers: he discreetly integrated tape in two of the pieces. His orchestration, however, was aimed to fuse the tape with the orchestra, avoiding the sorts of sounds that make many mixed-media pieces of the period sound technologically dated. Many other characteristics of the cycle also refer to the modern Zeitgeist. Focusing on a single note notably nods to Giacinto Scelsi. Other effects common in this period include polyrhythmic strata that create the impression of lines moving at different speeds (I), glissandi in the strings, contraction and dilation, acceleration and deceleration, siren effects (II), a static sound mass with strong chromaticism and gradual modification of timbre (III), pseudo-random events, showy use of percussion (IV and VII), rotary effects (V), and ostinato rhythms (V and VI). It is possible that some of Cerha’s idioms may have inspired other composers; perhaps the harpsichord in Spiegel III foreshadowed that in Continuum by Ligeti, and the sequence of “skins” in Spiegel VII could be a foretaste of the movement titled “Peaux” in Pléïades by Iannis Xenakis. With Spiegel, Cerha embraced the spectacular, which often characterizes music focused on texture. He succeeded in combining serial procedures within blocks of sound. While Ligeti opted for traditional notation, Cerha integrated proportional and semi-graphic notation in certain sections of the cycle. A notable example is the sine curves that fix the pitches in Spiegel IV and signal micro-intervals.

Alongside this cycle, Cerha wrote several other pieces that experiment with aesthetics he otherwise did not further pursue. Phantasma 63 (1963) uses a Hammond organ, proportional notation, and tone clusters. The radio drama Und du (1962-1963) brings together five narrators, a choir, and tape. Here again, the notation is partly graphic. The drama is a plea against nuclear power, soberly narrating the ordeal of a Hiroshima family. The music incorporates recorded and processed orchestral material (notably by ring modulation), voice techniques like those in Gesang der Jünglinge (Song of the Youths) by Stockhausen, and brass that may have inspired Ligeti for his Grand Macabre.

To the stage

Around this time, Cerha turned to theater and storytelling. The Exercises cycle for baritone, narrator, and chamber orchestra (1962-1967) exploits heterogeneous writing and drama, interacting in a manner inspired by “multi-stable systems in biology.”3 Poly-stylistic juxtaposition can also be seen in Netzwerk (Network), composed around the same time. This piece reflects multiple representative preoccupations of the 1960s avant-garde, including the exploration of many types of vocal emission, the juxtaposition of languages (including metalanguage), a musical pluralism that combines serialism with jazz, and a questioning of the individual’s relationship to society. If, as the composer Lothar Knessl points out, “between 1960 and 1970, innovative works for the stage show skepticism toward the word,” this was also true of Cerha and this exploratory period that he associated with a strong sense of freedom.4

The 1970s marked a return to a more linear discourse. Cerha kept his predilection for a pluralistic sound world, however, which manifests, although more discreetly, in Baal (1974-1980). This opera, using text from Bertolt Brecht’s first play, reconnects with broad orchestral textures, in such a way that it can be considered both a literary and a symphonic opera.

The fact that Baal was created at the same time as the reconstruction of Lulu, brings our attention to the connections between both operas. While we cannot assume that Cerha identifies with Berg or that Baal is either his Wozzeck or his Lulu or a synthesis of the two, one cannot help but be struck by the strong connection between the two universes. If Baal, the cursed poet, is not a victim of a social system like Wozzeck or Lulu, he nonetheless reveals a stratified society represented in music. This sociological focus finds an antecedent in Berg, from whom Cerha has the idea to refer to preceding genres, forms, and writing techniques such as fugue, passacaglia, and dance music, among others, the foxtrot and a stylization of reggae. As with Berg, Cerha’s objective is to turn this diversity into music that is organic. He does so by integrating each stylized reference into a unifying harmonic base. Atonality is therefore not incongruous in a song accompanied by a guitar, with a strong pulse and ostinato, if a little later in the same first act, the guitar adopts an unambiguously Hispanic idiom while still remaining atonal. A slow and clumsy waltz involving an accordion and a trumpet is one among many allusions to Berlin cabaret. Baal’s vocal styles range from spoken to arioso, through several types of recitative, and, like Wozzeck, he also whistles. Latin rhythms juxtapose in a skillful swing with an onstage church organ. To achieve long-term musical and dramatic connection, Cerha creates, as Knessl notes, three distinct musically narrated layers associated with the individual (popular songs), society (repetitive formulas), and opaque nature (dense textures).5

Composed during the same decade, the opera Der Rattenfänger (The Rat-Catcher), based on a libretto by Carl Zuckmayer, uses the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin to highlight a social-political message about the decline of the ruling class. Despite dipping lightly into popular styles, Cerha’s writing is largely based on a network of relationships between pitch sets paired with specific instrumentation, a character, and a vocal identity to reinforce dramatic coherence.

The tragicomic register of Der Riese vom Steinfeld (The Giant of Steinfeld; 1997-1999) pushed Cerha to further emphasize contrasts and the individual identity of each scene and protagonist. The sequence of situations that leads to the giant’s downfall is punctuated throughout by references ranging from simple allusions to deliberately mangled quotations, pastiche, and parody.

Back to basics: A rethink

Cerha’s experimental period ended in the early 1970s. The diptych Langegger Nachtmusik (1969), which became a triptych in 1991, marked the decade’s turn and heralded a return to a more Webern-influenced, linear musical language of contrapuntal textures. In addition to working on his first two operas and revising earlier works, Cerha composed Sinfonie (1975) for the Royan Festival, marked by Bergian expressionism, and then a concerto, which remained unused for almost two decades. Like Ligeti in 1972, he brought back to the stage the infrequently visited genre of the double concerto with his Double Concerto for violin, cello, and chamber orchestra. The piece features a dark atmosphere created through dense atonal polyphony and expressionist tension, with the strings evoking the post-Romantic idiom of Bruckner and Mahler. The restrained and internal lyricism is based on the melodic line and easily identifiable motifs. Carrying forward Cerha’s voice from the 1960s, polyphonic activity alternates with more static passages played by an electric organ. The pulse is often assertive, keenly emphasized by the percussion and ostinato figures. Beyond the familiar stylistic allusions, Cerha employs quotations, including a funeral march, probably inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of Erik Satie’s death. Nonetheless, the occasional references to other music do not place Cerha’s work on the same aesthetic level as Berio’s Sinfonia or Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Requiem für einen jungen Dichter (Requiem for a Young Poet).

More than twenty years later, Cerha returned to the concerto genre with another double concerto. In the Concertino (1994) for violin, accordion, and chamber orchestra, he continued to prioritize polyphony, even in the more harmonious Notturno second movement. The Cello Concerto has less dominant counterpoint, yet maintains a significant degree of polyphony and traditional material development. It evokes more Igor Shostakovich than anyone else, with Debussy-like colors. But Cerha repeatedly expressed wanting to break away from this approach. Another work was the Concerto for soprano saxophone and orchestra, which featured academically virtuosic passages with an unusually intense lyrical Notturno at its core. During the same period, Cerha also wrote a Concerto for violin and orchestra and a Concerto for percussion and orchestra in which virtuosity couples with scenography as the soloist is required to move between three instrumental setups.

In the program notes for his Quintet for oboe and string quartet (2007), Cerha explains that the theme of the relationship between the individual and society, which he explored extensively in his operas between 1960 and 1990, had also influenced his instrumental music, particularly his concertos for violin, cello, saxophone, and trombone, one of his string quartets, and the aforementioned quintet. This revelation invites listeners to proceed with caution when discussing which of his compositions could be considered pure music. This precaution particularly applies to the quintet, which employs a musical language that seems far removed from storytelling by quoting Schoenberg’s Serenade Op. 24 and using counterpoint inherited from the Viennese School.

Cerha admitted to feeling, around that time, a certain disgust for new playing techniques. He preferred to keep to the traditional sound of the instrument as well as clear writing, regardless of its intricacy. Although he never expanded his instrumental vocabulary with so-called “advanced” playing techniques, he did use microtonality in the 1989 String Quartet No. 1 “Maqam”. This microtonality makes references to the modality of traditional Arabic music but did not greatly influence any of his later works.

From the 2000s, Cerha turned his attention to chamber pieces for ensembles resembling those of the Romantic era. These pieces contain polyphonic textures and are directly expressive without being demonstrative. Using a title that had been more common in earlier eras, he wrote Nine Bagatelles for string trio and then Eight Bagatelles for clarinet and piano. Here Cerha strove to hide the effort behind his development work; he concentrated on the musical idea, spontaneity in writing, and the short form. The more personal Sieben Anekdoten (Seven Anecdotes, 2009) for flute and piano is a more personal collection of pieces that are influenced by the instrumental movements of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.

Orchestral reinvention

Cerha’s productivity in orchestral and instrumental ensemble works never slacked. He shows great inventiveness and boldness in his use of musical resources. With introspection, he questions the roots of his own musical ideas in Quellen (Sources, 1992) for ensemble, by endeavoring to avoid any elements that had become mechanical for him in composition.

As suggested by its title, Hymnus (2000), for orchestra, references Gregorian chant and a certain ideal of melodic fluidity that Cerha brings back from Fasce and Spiegel. A cantus firmus based on a series runs throughout the piece, which is not surprising from this composer. His uncommon capacity for renewal is demonstrated here in his research into spectral mixing and quarter-tone notation. The piece is meant to suggest the acoustics of a large religious structure, as harmonic adjustments create artificial reverberation.

Momente and Instants are two orchestral pieces in which Cerha stopped laboring to develop his musical ideas and instead resorted to spontaneous intuition and concision. He used small forms within these large compositions, challenging himself to short-circuit his expertise.

Cerha was innovative again in 2009 with Bruchstück, geträumt (Fragmented, Dreamed), for an ensemble of ten to twenty-five instrumentalists. In it he extols slowness in a frenzied world. The beginning is marked by dreamlike transparency. The metaphor of eternity is created through minimal rhythmic activity and breathy and tenuous sounds that rarely exceed pianissimo.

Composed for a similar-sized ensemble, Kurzzeit (Short-Term, 2016-2017) stands out from Cerha’s output. He seeks to avoid any theme or motive; instead he creates a sort of compositional study whose driving force is repeated notes and play with rhythm. Determined pitches are added only eventually and gradually.

The eight short movements of Tagebuch für Orchester (Diary for Orchestra, 2012), most composed in a single day, are like journal entries, capturing an immediacy that is supposed to deactivate the effort of formalization, or at least to conceal it. What attracts the listeners attention most is Cerha’s effort to purify his music. Throughout the 2010s, he nurtured two complementary ideals: linguistic simplicity, for expressing the essential as directly and profoundly as possible, and tranquility, reflected in textures.

The recurring nocturnal theme in his work reappears in Nacht (Night) for orchestra and in Eine blassblaue Vision (A Pale Blue Vision) for large orchestra. The texture in Nacht rests on a colorful micropolyphony. Eine blassblaue Vision portrays a poetic sensory abstraction of a dream just before waking; this image becomes the programmatic force behind the music’s changing textures.


Such is the writing of a composer who did not lock himself into one aesthetic or become focused on theoretical implications. Cerha, like Berg, rather strove to synthesize, or at least bring together, the achievements of serialism and the more plastic sound of Klangkomposition, without renouncing lyricism. Despite devoting eight decades to composition, he never seemed to rest on his laurels or settle into the certainty of a set path. While experience certainly brought him serenity in composing, it did not steal from him from the creative unease that can lead artists down offbeat paths.

Cerha was not dogmatic in his approach to composition. He endorsed sophisticated and formalized writing, but did not made it a goal in and of itself. In his teaching, he did not impose a methodology on his students, but he expected a strong commitment from them; he thereby encouraged rich interactions instead of one-way conversations. Although Cerha was neither a creator of manifestos nor a leader, his entire work advocates artistic freedom and leads by example.

1. IGNM in German. 
2. Friedrich CERHA in the booklet accompanying CD Kairos 0013002, 2010, p. 47. 
3. Gertraud CERHA and Darren NOLAN, “New Music in Austria since 1945,” in Tempo 161/162, 1987, p. 45. 
4. Lothar KNESSL, Von des Einfalls Frische, essay for the Musikpreis awarded to Friedrich CERHA in 2012 by the Ernst von Siemens Foundation, https://www.evs-musikstiftung.ch/de/preise/preise/archiv/hauptpreistraeger/friedrich-cerha/essay.html 
5. Ibid. 

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en février 2022).


  • Friedrich CERHA, « 1. Keintate / Eine Letzte Art Chansons », 1 CD Kairos, 2021, 0015100KAI.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Eine Art Chansons », 1 CD Kairos, 2019, 0015028KAI.
  • Friedrich CERHA, 8 Sätze nach Hölderlin-Fragmenten ; Quintet ; 9 Bagatellen, dans « Sextet, Quintet, Trio », 1 CD Claves, 2018, 50-1816.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Five Movements for Piano Trio ; Rhapsody for Violin and Piano ; Three Pieces for Cello and Piano ; Six Inventions for Violin and Cello ; Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Trio Boulanger, dans « Chamber Music », 1 cd Avi-Music, 2016, 8553347.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Nacht / Drei Orchesterstücke », 1 cd Kairos, 2016, 0015005KAI.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Schlagzeugkonzert ; Impulse, Martin Grubinger : percussion, Wiener Philharmoniker, direction : Peter Eötvös, Pierre Boulez, 1 cd Kairos, 2012, 0013242KAI.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Chamber Music with clarinet » : Five Pieces for Clarinet, Cello and Piano ; Eight Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano ; Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, Arcus Ensemble Wien, Andreas Schablas : clarinette, Erich Oskar Huetter : violoncelle, Janna Polyzoides : piano, Quatuor Hugo Wolf : Sebastian Gürtler et Régis Bringolf : violons, Gertrud Weinmeister : alto, Florian Berner : violoncelle, 1 cd Neos, 2012, n° 10921.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Und du… ; Verzeichnis ; Für K, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Ensemble die reihe, direction : Friedrich Cerha, chœur de l’ORF, direction : Erwin Ortner, 1 cd Kairos, 2011, 0013182KAI .
  • Friedrich CERHA, Bruchstück, geträumt ; Neun Bagatellen ; Instants, Klangforum Wien, direction : Sylvain Cambreling, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, direction : Peter Rundel, Zebra Trio, 1 cd Kairos, 2011, 0013152KAI.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Spiegel ; Monumentum ; Momente, SWR-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, direction : Sylvain Cambreling, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester, direction : Wien Dennis Russell Davies, Friedrich Cerha,2 sacds, 2010, 0013002KAI.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Konzert pour violoncelle et orchestre, Heinrich Schiff : violoncelle, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, direction : Peter Eötvös, avec une œuvre de Franz Schreker, 1 cd Ecm Records, 2007, ECM 1887.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Fasce ; Violinkonzert, Ernst Kovacic : violon, RSO Wien, direction : Bertrand de Billy, Johannes Kalitzke, 1 cd col legno, 2006, WWE 20251.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Komponistenportrait »,  Spiegel ; Monumentum für Karl Prantl ; Für K, Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien, direction : Friefrich Cerha, Klangforum Wien, direction : Michael Gielen, 2 cd col legno, 1997, WWE 20006 (réédition en 2009).
  • Friedrich CERHA, Monumentum für Karl Prantl ; Sinfonie, dans « Neue Musik aus Österreich 4 », avec des œuvres de Francis Burt, Johannes Maria Staud, Georg Friedrich Haas, Bert Breit et Gerhard Schedl, Orchestre symphonique de la Radio de Vienne, direction : Dennis Russell Davies, 2 cds Orf, edition Zeitton, 2003, ORF-CD325.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Cerha Dokumente », Ein Buch von den Minne; Espressioni Fondamentali ; Mouvements I, II, III ; Und Du ... ; Netzwerk; Baal ; Keintate ; Streichquartett “Maquam” ; Nachtmusik III, Theo Adam, Helmut Berger-Una, Heiner Hopfner, Heinz Karl Gruber, Arhtur Korn, Werner Krenn, Marjana Lipovšek, Martha Mõdl, Gabriele Sima, Ernst Kovacic, Thomas Larcher, Florian Müller, Heinrich Schiff, Klaus Christian Schuster, Günther Anders, Paul Hoffmann, Helmut Janatsch, Ernst Meister, Guido Wieland, Grete Zimmer, Ensemble die reihe, Wiener Philharmoniker, direction : Pierre Boulez, Friedrich Cerha, Dennis Russel Davies, Christoph v. Dohnányi, Erwin Ortner ORF (Radio Österreich 1), Edition Zitton, coffret 12 cds Orf-Liebermann, 2002, ORF-CD180, http://shop.orf.at (lien vérifié en juillet 2019).
  • Friedrich CERHA, Der Riese vom Steinfeld, Thomas Hampson, Diana Damrau, Michelle Bredt, Herwig Pecoraro, Wolfgang Bankl, Branko Samarovski, Alfred Sramek, Heinz Zednik, Margareta Hintermeier, John Nuzzo, Janusz Monarcha, Hacik Bayvertian, Peter Köves, Walter Pauritsch, Liviu Burz, Michael Boder : direction, enregistrement de la création, à Vienne 15 juin 2002, 2 cds cd Orf, edition Zeitton, 2003, ORF-CD660.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « ensemble die reihe », Lichtenberg-Splitter, ensemble die reihe, avec des œuvres de Michael Amann, Gerhard Graml, Daniel Oberegger, Christoph Cech, 1 cd Orf, edition Zeitton, 1999, ORF-CD232.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Baal - Gesänge ; Requiem für Rikke, Theo Adam : baryton, Kenneth Riegel : ténor, ORF Radio-Symphonie Orchester, direction : Friedrich Cerha, 1 cd Orf, edition Zeitton, 1998, ORF-CD434.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Cerha Dirigiert Cerha », Concerto Für Streichorchester ; Triptychon ; Curriculum ; Quellen ; Für K, Orchestre symphonique de la Radio de Vienne, 1 cd Orf, edition Zeitton, 1998, ORF-CD174.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Quatuors à cordes 1 à 3 », Arditti String Quartet, 1 cd CPO, 1999,  CPO 999 646-2.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Baal Gesänge, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Theo Adam, Kurt Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, avec une œuvre de Siegfried Matthus, 1 cd Berlin Classics, 1995, BC 2072-2.


  • Friedrich CERHA, « On receiving the Staatspreis 1986 », Tempo n° 161, Boosey and Hawkes, 1987, p. 8-10.
  • Friedrich CERHA, Schriften : ein Netzwerk, Wien, Verlag Lafite : Österreichische Musikzeit Edition, 2001.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Zu meinem Musiktheater », dans Oper Heute. Formen der Wirklichkeit im Zeitgenössischen Musiktheater, sous la direction d’Otto Kolleritsch, Studien Zur Wertungsforschung, Universal edition, Wien, Graz, 1985, p. 87-95.
  • Friedrich CERHA, « Spiegel », Biennale di Venezia ‘79, éditions de la Biennale, 1979, p. 124-125.
  • Gertraud CERHA, « New music in Austria since 1945 », Tempo n° 161, Boosey and Hawkes, 1987, p. 36-51.
  • Lukas HASELBÖCK (éditeur), Friedrich Cerha. Analysen, Essays, Reflexionen, éditions Rombach, coll. « Voces », 2005, 296 pages.
  • Hans-Dieter KLEIN, « Philosophische Notizen zum Musiktheater Friedrich Cerhas », dans Oper Heute. Formen der Wirklichkeit im Zeitgenössischen Musiktheater, sous la direction d’Otto Kolleritsch, Studien Zur Wertungsforschung, Universal edition, Wien, Graz, 1985, p. 96-107.
  • Lothar KNESSL, « Friedrich Cerha: A sketch », Tempo n° 161, Boosey and Hawkes, 1987, p. 5-8.
  • György LIGETI, « A Viennes exponent of understatement. Personal Reflexion on Friedrich Cerha », Tempo n° 161, Boosey and Hawkes, 1987, p. 3-5.
  • Frederic P. MILLER, Agnes F. VANDOME, John McBREWSTER (sous la direction de), Karlheinz Essl: Composer, Improvisation, Friedrich Cerha, Dieter Kaufmann, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, IRCAM, Algorithmic composition, Alphascript Publishing, 2010, 68 pages.