Heinrich Sutermeister

Heinrich Suter Champion ( born August 12, 1910 in Feuerthalen, † March 16, 1995 in Vaux -sur -Morges ) was a Swiss composer, who was primarily known for his operas.


Heinrich Suter master came from a Reformed parsonage; his hometown was Zofingen. His father Frederick was the son of the writer Otto Suter master; his mother was called Marie Hunziker.

Suter Master wrote from 1925 to 1928 his first attempts at composition down. After visiting the Humanistic Gymnasium in Basel he studied history and philology and German and Romance Languages ​​at the University of Basel ( and Paris ). 1929 and 1930 there met works of Claude Debussy and Arthur Honegger. This encounter, his studies in philosophy at the Sorbonne, and finally an exchange of letters with Walter Courvoisier in Munich determined him to turn to music.

From 1931 to 1934 Suter Masters graduated from the State Academy of Music in Munich. There he was taught by Carl Orff, Hans Pfitzner, Walter Courvoisier (harmony and counterpoint), Gustav Geierhaas, Li Stadelmann, Hugo Rohr (conducting) and Fritz Büchtger ( absolution ).

Freelance Composer

After his practical apprenticeship year from 1934 to 1935 as a solo accompanist at the Stadttheater Bern, he lived from 1935 as a freelance composer. " Suter master found early for a personal musical language, and his penchant for literary opera was reflected in a sensitive handling of the literary sources down. "

In 1936, his radio opera aired on Radio Bern for the first time The Black Spider. In addition to radio and television operas followed in the following years, works for orchestra, solo voice, choir, this chamber and concert music as well as his operas.

His breakthrough came with his Shakespeare opera Romeo and Juliet, which was premiered in 1940 at the Dresden State Opera, conducted by Karl Böhm and was soon afterwards translated into five languages. 1942 was followed by the opera The Magic Island, also in the Semper Opera under the direction of Böhm premiered. On behalf of Heinz Tietjen and under the influence of the war years the opera Niobe in the city theater of Zurich and in 1948 the opera Raskolnikov was premiered in 1946 at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. Raskolnikov " took place under the scenic and musical direction Issay Dobrowens its way into La Scala in Milan. " The libretto for Raskolnikov wrote his brother Peter Suter champion. 1951 his opera was premiered The red boots. Suter master's most important choral work Missa da Requiem was performed in 1952 by Herbert von Karajan in Rome. There were other musico-dramatic works, such as the Stadttheater Basel in 1958, first performed opera Titus Fire fox, which was also performed at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. 1967 premiered at the Zurich Opera Madame Bovary.

From 1958 to 1980 he was President of the Swiss copyright society Mechanlizenz ( 1980 SUISA ). From 1963 to 1975 he taught composition at the free Musikhochschule Hannover. 1985 Suter master's last opera King Berenger I was premiered on Cuvilliés Theatre Munich under the baton of Wolfgang Sawallisch.

Suter maestro composed ten very successful operas, a ballet, two Divertimenti, three chamber serenades, several instrumental concertos, chamber works, cantatas, choruses and songs. "His work as a composer, in which he follows his example, Giuseppe Verdi and suggestions by Carl Orff and Werner Egk from the Munich study time, an unerring dramatic instinct, his vocal oeuvre also has a distinct literary flavor. "

His musical manuscripts are located in the Central Library Zurich. In 2010 he was honored on the 100th birthday together with Rolf Liebermann with a postage stamp.



  • Divertimento No. 1 for String Orchestra, 1936, rev. 1960
  • Max and Moritz, ballet by Wilhelm Busch
  • The Black Spider, radio opera by Jeremias Gotthelf, 1936, staged version 1949
  • Romeo and Juliet, opera by William Shakespeare, 1940
  • The Magic Island, opera based on Shakespeare, 1942
  • Piano Concerto No. 1, 1943
  • Niobe, monodrama, 1946
  • Capriccio for solo clarinet, 1946
  • Raskolnikov, opera based on Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1948
  • The Alps, Fantasy on Swiss Folk Songs, 1948
  • The red boots, opera, 1951
  • Piano Concerto No. 2, 1953
  • Missa da Requiem, 1953, premiere: RAI Milan, soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • 1st Cello Concerto, 1954-55
  • Titus Fire fox or Love, treachery and wig, burlesque opera, 1958
  • Seraphine The silent or pharmacist opera buffa based on a text of Rabelais, 1959
  • Piano Concerto No. 3, 1961-62
  • The Canterville Ghost, Play with music for television by Oscar Wilde, 1962-63
  • Poème funebre - En mémoire de Paul Hindemith for string orchestra, 1965
  • Omnia ad Unum, cantata, 1965-66
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Opera, 1967
  • Sérénade pour Montreux, for chamber orchestra, 1970
  • Cello Concerto No. 2, 1971
  • Te Deum, 1975
  • Clarinet Concerto, 1975-76
  • Consolation Philosophiae, Scène dramatique, 1979
  • King Berenger I, opera after The King by Eugène Ionesco, 1985
  • Gloria for mixed choir, soprano solo and orchestra, 1988


  • Opera Prize of the city of Salzburg ( 1965)
  • Price of the Swiss Association of Musicians (1967 )
  • 1981 Binet - Fendt Prize of the Swiss Federal Council (1981 )