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Heiner Goebbels

date of birth 1952-08-17


Heiner Goebbels (1952) is a German composer and director. His work comprises musical theatre, performance, installations and concerts. He describes what he does as ‘working with composed language in between opera and drama.’ In 1976, he was one of the founders of the Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester. He made experimental music with the duo Goebbels/Harth (1975-1988) and the art rock trio Cassiber (1982-1992), as well as composing for film and theatre. Starting in the 1980s, he created several award-winning radio plays, most of which were based on texts by Heiner Müller. He also developed a genre known as ‘staged concert’.

Starting in the 1990s, this was followed by music for ensembles and orchestras as well as musical theatre pieces, which he composed and directed, and which were performed and praised throughout the world. He was honoured with the International Ibsen Award 2012. From 1999 until 2018, he taught as a professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at the Justus-Liebig-Universität in Gießen, where he also served as a director for some time. From 2006 until 2018, he was director of the Hessische Theaterakademie. From 2012 until 2014, he was artistic director at the Ruhrtriennale. His anthology Aesthetics der Abwesenheit (2012) was translated in English (2015) and many other languages.


Sociology and music in Freiburg and Frankfurt.

Major work and collaborations

1983 Die Hermannsschlacht (Holland Festival)

1987 Der Mann im Fahrstuhl

1993 Die Befreiung des Prometheus

1993 Ou bien le débarquement désastreux

1995 Die Wiederholung

1999 Eislermaterial (Holland Festival)

2002 Landscape with distant relatives (Holland Festival)

2004 Eraritjaritjaka

2008 Stifters Dinge (Holland Festival)

2009 I went to the house but did not enter (Holland Festival)

2013 When the mountain changed its clothing (Holland Festival)

2018 Under Construction

2018 Everything That Happened And Would Happen

2018 First recipient of the Georg Büchner Professorship at Justus-Liebig-Universität.

His work has been performed by Ensemble Modern, Ensemble InterContemporain, the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and the Berliner Philharmoniker, among others.

Past events

  1. 2022

    music |Het Concertgebouw - Grote zaal
  2. 2014

    music theatre |Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
  3. 2013

    music theatre |Zuiveringshal West - Westergasfabriek
  4. 2008

    music theatre |Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
  5. 2004

    music |Paradiso - Grote Zaal, BIMHUIS, Oosterpark
  6. 2003