Rolf Liebermann

Rolf Liebermann

[Ger. lee-buhr-mahn]
Rolf Liebermann (September 14, 1910January 2, 1999), born in Zurich, was a Swiss composer of different kinds of music. His output included chansons, classical, and light music. His classical music often combines a myriad of styles and techniques, including baroque, classical, and twelve-tone music. In the 1930's, he studied composition and conducting with Hermann Scherchen in Budapest and Vienna, and later with Wladimir Vogel in Basel.

Liebermann was the director of the Hamburg Staatsoper for 14 years from 1959 to 1973, and again from 1985 and 1988. During his tenure in Hamburg, he commissioned 24 new operas, including The Devils by Krzysztof Penderecki, Der Prinz von Homburg by Hans Werner Henze, and Help, Help the Globolinks! by Gian Carlo Menotti. He later served as director of the Paris Opera from 1973 to 1980, and died in Paris.


  • 1943 Polyphone Studien for chamber orchestra
  • 1944 Une des fins du monde, cantata for baritone and orchestra after Jean Giraudoux
  • 1945 Chinese Love Songs; Furioso
  • 1947 Swiss Folk Song Suite (Schweizerische Volksliedersuite)
  • 1949 Music for Orchestra and Reciter; Chinese Song; Symphony No 1
  • 1950 Streitlied zwischen Leben und Tod (Combat Song of Life and Death)
  • 1951 Sonata for piano
  • 1952 Leonore 40/45 (opera). First performance: Basle
  • 1954 Penelope (opera). First performance: Salzburg Festival(Szell/Schuh/Neher); Concerto for Jazzband and Symphony Orchestra. First performance: Donaueschingen, cond. H. Rosbaud. American première: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, cond. Fritz Reiner
  • 1955 The School for Wives (opera). First performance of the one-act version: Louisville, Kentucky
  • 1957 Die Schule der Frauen (opera). European premiere: Salzburg Festival (Szell/Schuh/Neher)
  • 1958 Geigy Festival Concerto for Basler drum and orchestra
  • 1959 Capriccio for soprano, violin and orchestra
  • 1964 Concert des Echanges, Swiss National Exhibition, Lausanne
  • 1981 Essai 81 for cello and piano
  • 1984 Ferdinand, parable for speaker and instruments
  • 1987 La Forêt (opera). First performance: Geneva (Tate/Deflo/Orlandi)
  • 1988 Herring Quintet; Cosmopolitan Greetings (Gruntz/Wilson/Ginsberg)
  • 1989 Medea Monologue for soprano, female choir and orchestra
  • 1990 3x1 = CH+X for mezzo-soprano, choir, and orchestra
  • 1992 Freispruch für Medea (opera). First performance: Hamburg 1995
  • 1994 Enigma; Violin Concerto
  • 1995 Piano Concerto
  • 1996 Die schlesischen Weber (text: Heinrich Heine) for mixed choir, string quartet, and piano
  • 1997 Variations on a Theme from Appenzell for five instruments
  • 1998 Mouvance for nine percussion players and piano


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