Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf

Claus -Steffen Mahnkopf ( born October 22, 1962 in Mannheim ) is a German composer.


Claus -Steffen Mahnkopf studied from 1984 musicology, philosophy and sociology at the universities of Heidelberg, Freiburg and Frankfurt and composition with Klaus Huber, Emmanuel Nunes and Brian Ferneyhough. In 1989, he put his philosophy exam from Jürgen Habermas. He was awarded his doctorate in 1993 with a thesis on Arnold Schoenberg. The music Ferneyhough exerted a lasting influence on Mahnkopf musical thinking and was in addition to the philosophy of Theodor W. Adorno to the ultimate source of inspiration for his own artistic work. Since the late 80s, find his work an ever greater resonance, which is reflected in performances at numerous international festivals and in the award of a number of prizes and awards (including Gaudeamus Prize 1990, 1st prize at the Stuttgart funding competition 1993 Siemens Award 1998, scholarships from the Paul Sacher Foundation and the Heinrich Strobel Foundation; study in Venice and Rome / Villa Massimo ). From 1990 to 1996, and in 2002 /03 Mahnkopf taught as a lecturer or department representatives at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, in 2003 he moved to the University of Music and Theatre " Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy " Leipzig. In 2005 he was appointed professor of composition there, two years later, he initiated the series of events music & presence. His oeuvre is published by Sikorski. Since 2011, the NEOS label the CD series " Mahnkopf Edition " appears.

In 1995 he founded the Society of Music with Richard Klein and Louis Holt Meier. Since 1997 he has been editor of the journal " Music & Aesthetics" published by Klett- Cotta. He is co-editor of the study series " sinefonia " and the book series " New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century" in the cloud publishing. He is the author of numerous books and more than 120 individual essays. He teaches master classes and lectures at home and abroad. In 2012 he was co-founder of the Institute for Music and aesthetics, one of whose institute director he is.

He was married to the Jewish religious scholar Francesca Yardenit Albertini ( 1974-2011 ). About their lives and their ideas, he wrote the book " Germany or Jerusalem. The short life of Francesca Albertini ".

Aesthetic and philosophical approach

Characteristic of the musical work of Claus -Steffen Mahnkopf is that it is accompanied and supported by a philosophical and a music-historical reflection. The most important thing is for him the philosophy of the Frankfurt School, Jacques Derrida and Niklas Luhmann as well as the tradition of a constructive and expressive composing since the Renaissance. Important composers: Josquin Desprez, Claudio Monteverdi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Alban Berg. Compositionally and artistically, he deals with questions after a second modernity in music, the complexity of the expression, deconstruction, cultural content and with the investigation of the cultural collapse in the 20th century. He sees his music in the central European musical tradition and endeavors to take an international style. He writes works in all genres. From 2001 to 2005 Mahnkopf worked intensively at the Freiburg Experimental Studio of the SWR.


Works (selection)

  • Krebs cycle (1985) for cello and piano
  • Monad (1985/1986) for oboe
  • Coincidentia oppositorum (1986) for alto flute
  • Interpénétrations (1987 ) for chamber orchestra
  • Différance (1987/1988) for violin ( 3 versions: différance I, II and III)
  • First String Quartet (1988/1989)
  • Paralipomenon (1988 ) for string quartet
  • Rhizome (1988/1989) for piano
  • Il faut continuer, Requiem for Samuel Beckett (1989/1990) for chamber ensemble
  • Succolarity (1989 ) for flute
  • Memor sum ( 1989) for viola
  • Medusa (1990-1992) for oboe and chamber orchestra
  • The snakes of Medusa (1991) for clarinet (three versions)
  • Microtomy (1991/1992) for guitar
  • Stheno and Euryale (1992 ) for one or more harps (two versions)
  • Illuminations you brouillard (1992/ 93) for Oboe and Piano ( Three versions )
  • Vladimir (1993 ) for violin
  • Chamber Symphony (1993 /94) for chamber orchestra
  • Medea cycle (1993-1996), poly - piece for chamber orchestra, string quartet, 30 solo strings and 2 harps
  • Vladimir 2 (1994 ) for violin
  • Meta Median ( 1994), Strings Serenade for 30 strings and two harps
  • Vladimir 2b (1995 ) for string trio
  • Thumbnail chamber (1995 ) for piano
  • Chamber pieces (1995 ) for piano
  • Blessed (1995 ) for cello and piano
  • Trio Basso (1995 ) for viola, cello and double bass
  • Chamber Concerto ( 1995/96 ) for solo piano and ensemble
  • Second String Quartet (1995 /96)
  • Solitude Sérénade (1997) for solo and ensemble Piccolooboe
  • Second Chamber Symphony (1997-1999) for chamber orchestra
  • Angelus Novus (1997-2000), musical theater by Walter Benjamin, for chamber orchestra
  • Requiescant in pace (2000) for ensemble
  • Deconstructing accordion (2000/2001) for accordion
  • Hommage à György Kurtág (2000/2001) for solo guitar and chamber orchestra
  • Death Music I (2001 ) for ensemble
  • Death Music II (2001) for ensemble
  • The Tristero system (2002) for ensemble
  • Hommage à Daniel Libeskind, Vol I ( 2002) for violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet
  • Homage to Theodor W. Adorno (2003) for string quartet
  • Hommage à Thomas Pynchon (2003-2005) for ensemble, solo cello and live electronics
  • Prospero's Epilogue (2004 ) for piano and orchestra
  • Prospero fragments (2005 ) for piano
  • Hommage à Frank Cox (2006 ) for piano, quarter-tone vibraphone and electric guitar
  • Humanized void (2003-2007) for large orchestra
  • Chamber Symphony No. 3 ( 2007) for chamber orchestra
  • Voiced void (2008) for Chor/24 votes
  • Void - delitto un italiano (2009) for 6 voices
  • In memoriam ... ... (2009) for bass flute, piano, cello and double bass
  • Hommage à Wolfram Schurig (2010 -) for saxophone, percussion and string quartet
  • Hommage à Daniel Libeskind, Vol II (2010-2011) for 6 players
  • Hommage à Daniel Libeskind, Vol III (2010-2012) for 6 players
  • Void - kol isha asirit (2010-2012) for large orchestra
  • Homage to Brian Ferneyhough (2012-2013) for a tuba player