Biography

photo © Jakob Rendtorff

HEINER GOEBBELS, born on August 17, 1952 in Neustadt/Weinstrasse, lives since 1972 in Frankfurt/Main. He studied sociology and music.

While doing several record productions and many concerts with the Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester (76-81), the Goebbels/Harth-Duo (76-88) and the art-rock-trio Cassiber (82-92), he wrote at the same time theatre music (for Hans Neuenfels, Claus Peymann, Matthias Langhoff, Ruth Berghaus and other directors), film music (for Helke Sander, Dubini Brothers, and many others) and ballet music (for the Ballet Frankfurt).

In the middle of the 80s he began composing and directing audio plays of his own, most of them based on texts by Heiner Mueller Verkommenes Ufer (Wasteland Waterfront), Die Befreiung des Prometheus (The liberation of Prometheus), Wolokolamsker Chaussee I-V (Volokolamsk Highway), Schliemanns Radio, Der Horatier/Roman Dogs/Chiens Romains and others.

After the staged concerts Der Mann im Fahrstuhl (Man in the Elevator) 1987, Die Befreiung des Prometheus (The liberation of Prometheus), 1991 and the concert for dancers Thraenen des Vaterlands (Tears of the fatherland), together with Christoph Nel/Ballet Frankfurt, 1986, he created together with Michael Simon the music theatre pieces Newtons Casino in 1990 and Roemische Hunde (Roman Dogs) in 1991 at the TAT in Frankfurt.

Since 1988 Heiner Goebbels composes ensemble music for the Ensemble Modern (Red Run, Befreiung, La Jalousie) and the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Herakles 2).

In 1994 followed Surrogate Cities, a 90 minutes composition for big orchestra commissioned by the Alte Oper Frankfurt and performed by the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, conductor: Peter Rundel. 1996, as a commision for Donaueschingener Musiktage, he composed Industry & Idleness (premiered by Radiokamerorkest Hilversum, conductor: Peter Eotvos). Walden for extended orchestra was created in 1998 for the first tour of the newly founded Ensemble Modern Orchestra (conductor: Peter Eotvos).

Invitations to nearly all major theatre-, music- and performing arts -festivals and tourings with all his ensembles, the productions for stage got him to more than 50 countries in the last 30 years. More than 20 CD productions have been published.

In 1993 the music theatre piece Ou bien le débarquement désastreux (Or the hapless landing) was directed by himself in Paris. In 1995 his music theatre piece Die Wiederholung (The Repetition, La Reprise - based upon motifs by Kierkegaard, Robbe-Grillet and Prince) was created in Frankfurt (Theater am Turm). His music theatre piece Schwarz auf Weiss (Black on White) was created at the TAT Frankfurt in 1996 for 18 musicians of the Ensemble Modern. It was filmed for Arte, recorded for BMG and the SWF and is still being shown in Europe and overseas.

Apart from several installation and exhibition projects in Bauhaus Weimar, Centre Pompidou, ZKM, MAC Lyon, Museum Mathildenhöhre and many others, he participated in documenta VII, VIII and X with concerts, performances and installations - in 1997 with his music theatre sketch Landscape with man being killed by a snake. In 1997 he also created the music theatre piece Schliemann's Scaffolding in Athens and Volos. The music theatre piece Max Black with Andre Wilms premiered in April 1998 in Lausanne, and together with the Ensemble Modern he created a tribute to Hanns Eislers' 100th anniversary called Eislermaterial - a staged concert which was first shown in Munich in May 1998.

In 2000 Heiner Goebbels composed the sound installations Timée / Timeios and Fin de Soleil for Centre Pompidou in Paris, the music theatre piece Hashirigaki in Theatre Vidy and the staged concert ...même soir.- with Les Percussions de Strasbourg.

Nearly all of his music theatre works have been performed between 50 and 150 times on the major music and theatre festivals in Europe as well as in the USA, Southamerica, Australia and Asia.

1994/95 guest professor at "Institut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft" University Giessen.
1997/98 guest professor at "Musikhochschule Karlsruhe - Kompositionsklasse".

From April 1999 on, Heiner Goebbels works as a professor (and from 2003 until 2011 as a managing director) at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). He is in charge of several seminars and artistic projects, aswell as cooperative projects with the students of international institutions (in Italy, France, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands etc). The institute is as well dedicated to scientific research as to artistic practice (contemporary theatre and performance) and especially to the possibilities of linking both. (For further information please visit its homepage).

Since then he is widely engaged to advance the conditions and structures of contemporary theatre education being a cofounder of several cooperative structures like the Hessian Theatre Academy, the Hessian Film- and Media Academy, tanzlabor_21 and Frankfurt LAB. He also works in several boards for upcoming experimental artists.

In 2002 Heiner Goebbels premiered his first opera Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten / Paysage avec parents éloignés / Landscape with distant relatives. In the context of his 50th birthday Heiner Goebbels released his first book "Komposition als Inszenierung". Also ECM released a CD of Eislermaterial.

In 2003 Heiner Goebbels premiered his orchestra piece Aus einem Tagebuch (From A Diary) as a comission of the Berlin Philharmonics / conductor Sir Simon Rattle. in this season the Berlin Philharmonics performed ten concerts with the music of Heiner Goebbels: two performances of Surrogate Cities in Lausanne and Berlin and many following concerts of Aus einem Tagebuch (From A Diary) in Salzburg, London, New York, San Francisco and others.

In 2004 he premiered his music theatre piece called Eraritjaritjaka - museé des phrases after words by Elias Canetti with the actor André Wilms and the Mondriaan String Quartett at the theatre vidy in lausanne, which has been awarded with seven international theatre prizes and performed more than 125 times worldwide.

Since 2006 Heiner Goebbels is President of the Theatre Academy Hessen

In 2007 he premiered the performative installation Stifters Dinge - a music theatre producion without performers, musicians or actors. After the first shows at the coproducing institutions in Lausanne, Berlin, Luxembourg and Frankfurt this piece is touring worldwide and had already more than 250 performances. A CD of Stifters Dinge was released by ecm records in 2012. In 2007 also the staged concert Songs of Wars I have seen has been composed for the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra in the Age of Enlightenment, London - with words by Gertrude Stein.

In 2008 he premiered his music theatre production I went to the house but did not enter on the Edinburgh International Festival, with the Hilliard Ensemble and Texts by T.S.Eliot, Maurice Blanchot and Samuel Beckett.

In 2007/2008 he was fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for advanced studies), in 2010 artist in residence of the Cornell University, Ithaca, USA.
2012 awarded with the International Ibsen Award by the Norwegian Government - and with a Honorary Doctorate by the Birmingham City University.
For the Years 2012, 2013, 2014 Heiner Goebbels works as artistic director for the international festival of the arts Ruhrtriennale.

In 2012 he premiered his latest music theatre production When the Mountain changed its clothing as well as John Cage: Europeras 1&2 on the Ruhrtriennale - International Festival of the Arts. In 2013 he directed the European Premiere of Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury, in 2014 the new production of Louis Andriessen: De Materie.

As artistic director of the "Ruhrtriennale - International Festival of the Arts 2012-2014" Heiner Goebbels curated, produced and presented two new works by Robert Wilson, three new works by Romeo Castellucci, and more new works by Michal Rovner, Boris Charmatz, Robert Lepage, Jan Lauwers, Ryoji Ikeda, Douglas Gordon, William Forsythe, Lemi Ponifasio, Mathilde Monnier, Saburo Teshigawara, Anne Teresa de Keersmaker, Rimini Protokoll, Tim Etchells, Gregor Schneider and many others.