GISELHER KLEBE (1925 - 2009)
Giselher Klebe was born in Mannheim in 1925 and from 1940 to 1943 studied violin with Kurt von Wolfurt, composition at the Berlin Konservatorium. After military service, during which he was a prisoner-of-war, he continued his study of composition which Josef Rufer and Boris Blacher at the International Music Institute in Berlin, while working in the music section of Radio Berlin, and in 1949 first attended the famous courses in new music at Darmstadt. His orchestral work Divertissement joyeux, Opus 5, was performed in 1950 under Wolfgang Fortner. The following year his Die Zwitschermachine, Opus 7, (The Twittering Machine), based on the famous painting by Paul Klee, was performed to considerable acclaim at Donaueschingen under the direction of Hans Rosbaud. Further performances of newer compositions followed at Darmstadt, at Donaueschingen and at international gatherings of contemporary composers. In 1957 he succeeded Wolfgang Fortner as lecturer in composition and music theory at the North West German Academy of Music in Detmold, where he was appointed professor five years later.
During a career that has brought wide international recognition and honours and awards in Germany and abroad, Giselher Klebe established himself as a composer of particular significance in the opera-house, with a series of dramatic works that being with his version of Schillers Die Räuher, following by a further series of operas with a firm literary basis. These, however, represent only one facet of Klebes oeuvre, which includes orchestral works, symphonies, vocal and choral compositions and a significant contribution to the chamber music repertoire.