Udo Zimmermann

Udo Zimmermann (born 6 October 1943)[1] is a German composer, musicologist, opera director and conductor.[2] He worked as a professor of composition, founded a centre for contemporary music in Dresden, and was director of the Leipzig Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He directed a contemporary music series for the Bayerischer Rundfunk and a European centre of the arts in Hellerau. His operas, especially Weiße Rose, on a topic he set to music twice, have been performed internationally and recorded.

Udo Zimmermann
Udo Zimmermann
Zimmermann in 2006
Born6 October 1943 (age 75)
Dresden, Germany
  • Composer
  • Musicologist
  • Conductor
  • Opera director


Born in Dresden, Zimmermann was a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor from 1954 to 1962, when he completed the Abitur.[3] Directed by Rudolf Mauersberger, Zimmermann was immersed in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and learned vocal expression, which became a focus of his own compositions. He wrote three motets which were performed by the choir,[4] including a "Vaterunserlied" in 1959.[5] Education in the choir fostered a humanitarian attitude which he kept for life.[5]

He continued his music education at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber, studying composition with Johannes Paul Thilman and also voice and conducting.[4] The works composed during these years include Dramatische Impression für Violoncello und Klavier auf den Tod von J. F. Kennedy (Dramatic impression for cello and piano on the death of John F. Kennedy), composed in 1963, Fünf Gesänge für Bariton und Kammerorchester (Wolfgang Borchert) (Five chants for baritone and chamber orchestra after Wolfgang Borchert), written in 1964, and the opera Weiße Rose based on a libretto by his brother Ingo Zimmermann and composed in 1967/68.[4] The theme of the opera, which he composed as a student, is the White Rose resistance movement of the siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl.[1][6] From 1986, he studied in Berlin at the Akademie der Künste with Günter Kochan. He then composed Musik für Streicher (Music for strings), his first work including twelve-tone technique and a new organisation of sound processes in levels ("flächig)".[4]

In 1970, Zimmermann became dramaturge of the Staatsoper Dresden.[3] In 1978 he was appointed professor of composition at the Dresdnen Musikhochschule, where he had lectured from 1976.[3] As a conductor, he was invited by major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, Orchestre de Radio France in Paris, Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, MDR Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He also appeared as a guest conductor at opera houses in Bonn, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna.[7] He organised productions of his operas in both East and West Germany, and arranged for leading papers to review them.[5]

In 1986, he founded the Dresdner Zentrum für zeitgenössische Musik (Dresden Center for Contemporary Music) as a research center and for concerts and festivals. He returned to his opera topic Weiße Rose and wrote a condensed version for only two voices and ensemble on a text by Wolfgang Willaschek.[8] It premiered at the Opera Stabile, Hamburg, on 27 February 1986, and was staged often.[8] Zimmermann was the artistic director of the Leipzig Opera. During this time, 27 premieres of new works were performed at the house,[1] including several especially for the tricentenary of the opera house.[9] Parts of Stockhausen's Licht were premiered, also Jörg Herchet's nachtwache, staged by Ruth Berghaus, and Dieter Schnebel's "Majakowskis Tod – Totentanz". The house received international attention, presenting Busoni's Doktor Faustus staged by Willy Decker, and a cycle of Mozart's operas on librettos by da Ponte, staged by John Dew, among others.[10] From 2001 to 2003 he was general director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.[1][3][11]

Zimmermann directed the series musica viva of contemporary music, run by the broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk from 1997 to 2011. He invited notable composers and ensembles to concerts in Munich, many of which were recorded. In 2007/08, he initiated an additional ars musica viva festival, which presented leading radio orchestras and ensembles. The BMW Kompositionspreises, a composition prize for the series, was an award for many new works by young international composers. A total of 175 works were performed, with 161 compositions commissioned by musica viva, and presented in 180 broadcasts. Zimmermann received the broadcaster's Gold Medal for his work over 14 years.[12]

Zimmermann then directed the Europäisches Zentrum der Künste in Dresden-Hellerau (European centre of the arts in Dresden-Hellerau), with a vision of a laboratory for contemporary art ("Labor für zeitgenössische Kunst"), including theatre, dance, architecture, art and media art. He retired from the position in 2008.[1]


Zimmermann's operas were published by Breitkopf:[13]

  • Weiße Rose (1967/1968), opera in eight Bildern (scenes, literally "images") based on a libretto by his brother Ingo Zimmermann, premiered 17 June 1967
  • Die zweite Entscheidung (1970), opera in seven Bildern and three interludes based on a libretto by Ingo Zimmermann
  • Levins Mühle (Oper) (1972), opera in nine Bildern based on the novel by Johannes Bobrowski, libretto by Ingo Zimmermann, premiered 27 March 1973 at the Staatsoper Dresden[14]
  • Der Schuhu und die fliegende Prinzessin (1976), fairy-tale opera after Peter Hacks in three Abteilungen (divisions), libretto by Udo Zimmermann and Eberhard Schmidt, premiered 30 December 1976 at the Staatsoper Dresden, and a first performance in the West on 13 May 1977 at the Staatstheater Darmstadt[14]
  • Die wundersame Schusterfrau (1982), opera in two acts after Federico García Lorca, premiered 25 April 1982 at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen[14]
  • Weiße Rose (1986), chamber opera, scenes for two singers and 15 instrumentalists after texts by Wolfgang Willaschek, premiered 27 February 1986 at the Opera Stabile, Hamburg[14]
  • Die Sündflut (1988)


Zimmermann's publications are held by the German National Library, including:[15]

  • Man sieht, was man hört (One sees what one hears), Udo Zimmermann on music and theatre, edited by Frank Geißler, Leipzig 2003.


Zimmermann's recordings are held by the German National Library:[15]


  • Zimmermann, Prof. Udo. In: Wilfried W. Bruchhäuser: Komponisten der Gegenwart im Deutschen Komponisten-Interessenverband. Ein Handbuch. 4th ed., Deutscher Komponisten-Interessenverband, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-555-61410-X, p. 1452.
  • Fritz Hennenberg: Udo Zimmermann. Bouvier-Verlag, Bonn 1992, ISBN 3-416-02384-6.
  • Udo Zimmermann. In: Sigrid Neef (with Hermann Neef: Deutsche Oper im 20. Jahrhundert. DDR 1949–1989. Lang, Berlin 1992, pp. 532ff, ISBN 3-86032-011-4.
  • Felicitas Nicolai: Udo Zimmermann. In: Komponisten der Gegenwart (KDG). Edition Text & Kritik, München 1996, ISBN 978-3-86916-164-8.


  1. ^ a b c d e Block, Simona (5 October 2018). "Lebenselixier Musik – Komponist Udo Zimmermann wird 75". Neue Musikzeitung (in German). Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ Opera Glass
  3. ^ a b c d "Udo Zimmermann". Wer war wer in der DDR? (in German). bundesstiftung-aufarbeitung. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Nicolai, Felicitas. Udo Zimmermann. Munzinger Biographien (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Ernst, Michael (6 October 2013). "Lautstarker Mahner, schwieriger Freund: Udo Zimmermann zum 70. Geburtstag". Neue Musikzeitung (in German). Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  6. ^ Hennenberg, Fritz (May 1980). "Die Mittlere Generation: Versuch über sechs Komponisten der DDR". German Studies Review (in German). The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the German Studies Association. 3 (2): 289–321. doi:10.2307/1429724. JSTOR 1429724.
  7. ^ "Udo Zimmermann". Breitkopf. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b Schmöe, Stefan (16 October 2002). "Weiße Rose". Online Musik Magazin (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  9. ^ Ernst, Michael (5 October 2013). "Macher und Feingeist: Udo Zimmermann wird 70". Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  10. ^ Korfmacher, Peter (5 October 2018). "Der Komponist und Dirigent und Manager Udo Zimmermann feiert seinen 75. Geburtstag". Leipziger Volkszeitung (in German). Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  11. ^ Warrack, John; West, Evan (1992). The Oxford Dictionary of Opera. ISBN 978-0-19-869164-8.
  12. ^ "Udo Zimmermann nach Abschlusskonzert der musica viva ausgezeichnet". Neue Musikzeitung (in German). 13 July 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Works by Udo Zimmermann". Breitkopf. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d Kosch, Wilhelm (2011). Zimmermann, Udo. Deutsches Theater-Lexikon (in German). Walter de Gruyter. pp. 2816–3818. ISBN 978-3-11-026901-7. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Recordings by Udo Zimmermann" (in German). German National Library. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  16. ^ ArkivMusic page for Udo Zimmermann

External links

Annette Schlünz

Annette Schlünz (born 23 September 1964) is a German musician and composer.

Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin) is a German symphony orchestra based in Berlin. In Berlin, the orchestra gives concerts at the Konzerthaus Berlin and at the Berliner Philharmonie. The orchestra has also given concerts in other German cities such as Aschaffenburg, Essen, Halle, Oldenburg, and Wiesbaden.

The orchestra was founded in 1923 as a radio orchestra, and is the oldest active radio orchestra in Germany. Bruno Seidler-Winkler was the first chief conductor, from 1926 to 1932. During its early years, the orchestra had a reputation for its work with contemporary, 20th-century composers. Composers who guest-conducted the orchestra included Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Sergei Prokofiev, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky, as well as Krzysztof Penderecki, Walter Schartner and Udo Zimmermann. After the 1949 division of Germany, the orchestra was under the supervision of Rundfunk der DDR (DDR Radio).

In September 2015, the orchestra announced the appointment of Vladimir Jurowski as its chief conductor, effective with the 2017-2018 season. In April 2019, the orchestra announced the extension of Jurowski's contract as chief conductor through the 2022-2023 season. Also in April 2019, the orchestra announced the appointment of Karina Canellakis as its next principal guest conductor, effective with the 2019-2020 season. She is the first female conductor to be named principal guest conductor of the orchestra.The orchestra has recorded commercially for such labels as Pentatone, including ten operas of Richard Wagner with Janowski conducting, and the Symphony No 3 of Alfred Schnittke with Jurowski. Other recordings include the piano concerto by Max Reger for Hyperion, and Die Ersten Menschen of Rudi Stephan, for CPO.

Der Schuhu und die fliegende Prinzessin

Der Schuhu und die fliegende Prinzessin (The Bird-Man and the Flying Princess) is a fairy-tale opera in three acts by Udo Zimmermann with a libretto which he wrote with Eberhard Schmidt based on the eponymous fairy tale by Peter Hacks. It was first performed on 30 December 1976 at the Semperoper, staged by Harry Kupfer.

Dresdner Kreuzchor

The Dresdner Kreuzchor is the boys' choir of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, Germany. It has a seven-century history and a world-wide reputation. Today, the choir has about 150 members between the ages of 9 and 19, from Dresden and the surrounding region. The boys attend the Kreuzschule in Dresden. They are also called "Kruzianer".

The present director of the choir is Roderich Kreile, who is the 28th "Kreuzkantor" (Cantor) since the Reformation. From 1971 until 1991, Martin Flämig was the Cantor.

Harry Kupfer

Harry Kupfer (born 12 August 1935) is a German opera director and academic. A long-time director at the Komische Oper Berlin, he has worked at major opera houses and at festivals internationally. Trained by Walter Felsenstein, he has worked in the tradition of realistic directing. At the Bayreuth Festival, he staged Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer in 1978, and Der Ring des Nibelungen in 1988. At the Salzburg Festival, he directed the premiere of Penderecki's Die schwarze Maske in 1986, and Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss in 2014.


The Kreuzschule (German for "School of the Cross") in Dresden (also known by its Latin name, schola crucis) is the oldest surviving school in Dresden and one of the oldest in Germany. As early as 1300, a schoolmaster (Cunradus puerorum rector) was mentioned. It was founded as a grammar school for the singers of the capella sanctae crucis (Latin for "Chapel of the Holy Cross"), now the Dresdner Kreuzchor. The school is now a Protestant Gymnasium, officially called the Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium.

List of classical composers in the German Democratic Republic

This list contains famous classical music composers who have lived in East Germany.

MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra

The MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra (in German simply the MDR Sinfonieorchester) is a German radio orchestra based in Leipzig. It is the radio orchestra of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, the public broadcaster for the German states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. It is one of the oldest Radio orchestras in the world and the oldest in Germany. It was founded in Leipzig, Germany in 1923 (9 months earlier than the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra). Apart from a short interruption during World War II, it has been the main orchestra of the Central German Broadcasting Company (MDR) since 1924. The orchestra performs concerts in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus.

Opera Europa

Opera Europa is the international service organisation for professional opera companies and opera festivals in Europe. It is incorporated in Brussels as a not-for-profit organisation.

With roots going back to 1995, Opera Europa gained its present format and name in 2002, on the merger of the European Opera Network and the Eurolyrica associations. It had 160 member companies in 40 different countries as at May 2016.

Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony

The Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony (German: Sächsischer Verdienstorden) is a civil order of merit, and the highest award of the German state of Saxony. First presented in 1997, it is awarded by the Minister-President of Saxony. The order is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the people and state of Saxony. The award is limited to a total of 500 living recipients. As of November 2012 it has been awarded 243 times.

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen (Schwetzingen palace theater) is a court theater in Schwetzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The historic building, opened in 1753, is part of Schloss Schwetzingen and since 1952 the principal venue of the Schwetzingen Festival. It is also called Hoftheater (court theater), Hofoper (court opera), and Comoedienhaus (comedy house). The frequently applied name Rokokotheater (Rococo theater) is misleading, because it shows also neoclassical elements, added in 1762.

The Marriage (opera)

The Marriage is a comic opera in 2 acts by Bohuslav Martinů, to the composer's own libretto, after the play of the same name by Nikolai Gogol. The opera was commissioned for television by the NBC, and the NBC Opera Theatre performed the work's world premiere on their television program NBC TV Opera Theatre for a national broadcast in the United States on 2 July 1953. The opera has subsequently been adapted for the stage and recorded on CD.

Ursula Cain

Ursula Cain (April 24, 1927 in Dresden – October 16, 2011 in Leipzig) was a German dancer and dance teacher.

Uwe Scholz

Uwe Scholz (31 December 1958 – 21 November 2004) was a German ballet dancer, director, and choreographer.

Weiße Rose (opera)

Weiße Rose (White Rose) is a chamber opera in one act by Udo Zimmermann. The opera tells the story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister in their early twenties, who were guillotined by the Nazis in 1943 for leading Die Weiße Rose, a non-violent resistance group. The opera premiered at the Dresden Conservatory on 17 June 1967 with a German libretto by the composer's brother, Ingo Zimmermann, a well known journalist and writer in Germany. The opera was received fairly well. Zimmermann revised it the following year for a professional production in Schwerin.

A completely new and less conventionally narrative opera with the same title and a libretto by Wolfgang Willaschek was premiered at the Hamburg State Opera on 27 February 1986 and was a success with both audience and critics. The opera became an international success and has had performances at many of the world's leading opera houses and with leading orchestras including the Vienna State Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, Zurich Opera, the Salzburg Festival, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra among many others. The United States premiere of the opera was presented by Opera Omaha in 1988 with soprano Lauren Flanigan as Sophie.


Zimmermann is a German occupational surname which is literally an older German term for a carpenter. The modern German terms for the occupation of carpenter are Zimmerer, Tischler, or Schreiner, but Zimmermann is still used.

Zimmer in German means room or archaically a chamber within a structure. The German man or mann is, in English the extra n is ignored, man or worker. Combining the two German words you get a worker of wood or literally translated room man or room worker.Zimmermann, as a surname is often confused with Zimmerman. The loss or addition of the double "n" may imply many things. This may include linguistic, racial, ethnic, religious or other cultural variations.Many German names were often Anglicized or simplified by immigration officials upon entry into the United States. With Zimmermann the double 'n' Zimmermann was often seen as redundant in countries where English was spoken. As a part of routine, German names were often Anglicized or simplified later by immigrants to better fit in. Zimmerman became Carpenter for example. Sometimes this was done by immigration officials upon entry into the United States when the immigrant did not know how to spell their name and that variant became the legal name.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.