updated 15 January 2014
© Jens Oellermann

Helmut Oehring

German composer born 16 July 1961 in Berlin.

Born to deaf parents, Helmut Oehring initially worked in construction, and later in various other fields, before turning to composition. In 1985, he attended a concert of new music that affected him deeply. He became a passionate devotee of contemporary European music, and taught himself to play the guitar and to compose, receiving some guidance from Friedrich Goldmann, André Asriel, and Helmut Zapf. He subsequently studied composition with Georg Katzer from 1992 to 1994 at the Berlin Academy of Arts.

In 1994, he was awarded a study grant from the Cité des Arts in Paris, and the following year from Villa Massimo, the German Academy in Rome.

In 2008-09, he was composer-in-residence with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, and in 2010 at the Kurt Weill Festival.

His autobiography Mit anderen Augen. Vom Kind gehörloser Eltern zum Komponisten [“With other eyes. From the child of deaf parents to composer”] was published in 2011.

Influenced by the environment in which he grew up and non-verbal communication with his parents, Oehring’s music is marked by its use of physical gestures derived from sign language; several of his works call for deaf/mute performers. Certain themes, such as the impossibility of verbal communication (as in Losheit for two contrabasses) or the death penalty (in pieces such as Lethal Injection, Leuchter and Cayabyab), are recurrent in his work. Very attached to dramatised forms of music, he has composed numerous operas.

Prizes

  • Hanns Eisler Prize for Coma (1990)
  • Cologne Young Composers’ Forum Prize for the orchestral version of Coma (1991)
  • Prize from the First International Composition for Guitar and Strings Competition for Locked in (Berlin; 1992)
  • Orpheus Prize for Dokumentation I (Italy; 1996)
  • Hindemith Prize for his life’s work (Plön, Germany; 1997)
  • Schneider Schott Prize (1998)
  • Prize for the “Best Theatrical Music Production” from the National Theatre Institute for UNSICHTBARLAND (2006)
  • Arnold Schoenberg Prize for his life’s work (2008).

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2014

Sources

  • Site du compositeur (lien vérifié en janvier 2014) ;
  • Grove Music Online ;
  • Carlos Maria SOLARE, « Helmut Oehring in Profile », in Tempo n° 213, juillet 2000.
  • Chamber music
  • Instrumental ensemble music
    • Im Vormonat for ensemble (1997-1998), 15 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec stage Als ob: SUITE musical and choreographic project for bass flute, bass clarinet, accordion, sampler / piano, two percussions, electric guitar, CD, seven dancers, video projection and live electronics (2000), 60 mn
    • ETIUS for flute, two clarinets, accordion, piano and two percussionists (2000), Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Berlin: Symphonie einer Großstadt for large orchestra and film (2001-2002), 1 h 10 mn
  • Vocal music and instrument(s)
    • elec Polaroids for deaf performer, soprano, twelve instruments and live electronics (1996), 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec LIVE (aus: Androgyn) 18 songs from the poem LIVE by Anne Sexton (1997), 23 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec LIVE (aus: Androgyn) version for countertenor, violin, cello, prepared piano / sampler and live electronics, 18 songs from the poem LIVE by Anne Sexton (1997), 23 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Silence Moves I soundtrack for an imaginary film (1997), 60 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Silence Moves II for voice, ensemble, live electronics and film (1997), 25 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec A.N. (evita-che guevara-madonna) for two voices, eight instruments and live electronics (1998), 15 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Mischwesen for deaf-mute soloist, three trumpets and keyboard (1998), 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Mischwesen for deaf-mute soloist, trumpet, bass clarinet, cello and keyboard (1998), 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Requiem for three countertenors, twelve instruments and electronics (1998), 55 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec stage Bernarda Albas Haus tanztheater (1999), 1 h 30 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec stage Der Ort ist nicht der Ort musical theater-action (2000), 1 h 10 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec stage EFFI BRIEST musical theater-psychogram in four acts (2000), 1 h 30 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec rumgammeln + warten for solo voice, deaf woman, ensemble and CD (2001), 15 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Seven song for Sunrise music from the film L'Aurore (2013), 1 h 30 mn
  • 2013
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
    • elec stage Als ob: SUITE musical and choreographic project for bass flute, bass clarinet, accordion, sampler / piano, two percussions, electric guitar, CD, seven dancers, video projection and live electronics, 60 mn
    • elec stage Der Ort ist nicht der Ort musical theater-action, 1 h 10 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec stage EFFI BRIEST musical theater-psychogram in four acts, 1 h 30 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • ETIUS for flute, two clarinets, accordion, piano and two percussionists, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1999
  • 1998
    • elec A.N. (evita-che guevara-madonna) for two voices, eight instruments and live electronics, 15 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Im Vormonat for ensemble, 15 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Mischwesen for deaf-mute soloist, three trumpets and keyboard, 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Mischwesen for deaf-mute soloist, trumpet, bass clarinet, cello and keyboard, 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Requiem for three countertenors, twelve instruments and electronics, 55 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1997
    • elec LIVE (aus: Androgyn) 18 songs from the poem LIVE by Anne Sexton, 23 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec LIVE (aus: Androgyn) version for countertenor, violin, cello, prepared piano / sampler and live electronics, 18 songs from the poem LIVE by Anne Sexton, 23 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Prae-Senz (Ballet Blanc II) for violin, cello and prepared piano / sampler, 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Silence Moves I soundtrack for an imaginary film, 60 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • elec Silence Moves II for voice, ensemble, live electronics and film, 25 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1996
    • elec Polaroids for deaf performer, soprano, twelve instruments and live electronics, 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes

Liens Internet