Detlev Glanert was born in Hamburg. He first played trumpet and tuba, and later doublebass and piano. He studied composition with Diether de la Motte from 1980 to 1982 in Hamburg, with Hans Werner Henze from 1985 to 1989 in Cologne, and with Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood in the summer of 1986.
Early in his career, Glanert especially admired Gustav Mahler for his expressive encompassing of the entire world, and Maurice Ravel for his glittering artificial surfaces; both composers were very important for his development. Later on Hans Werner Henze and Bernd A. Zimmermann had an important influence. Following the first successful performances of his work, Glanert decided to pursue a life as a free lance composer for lyric opera, orchestral music and chamber music. His works demonstrate lyrical gifts and a fascination with the Romantic past viewed from a modern perspective.
Glanert won the prestigious Rolf Liebermann Opera Prize in 1993 for his first full scale opera The Mirror of the Great Emperor, and the Bavarian Theatre Prize in 2001 for the comic opera Jest, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning, which garnered numerous stage productions and has become his most successful opera to date. Glanert is currently the most performed living opera composer in Germany. His stage works (eleven) have received many different stage productions. His orchestral output includes three symphonies, concertos for piano, two pianos, violin and tuba, and several orchestra pieces in all orchestra sizes. His works are conducted by, among others, Markus Stenz, Oliver Knussen, Kent Nagano, Semyon Bychkov, Donald Runnicles, Iván Fischer, Christian Thielemann, Jun Märkl, Stefan Asbury and David Robertson.
Glanert lived in Italy for almost ten years, collaborating with the “Cantiere Internazionale Montepulciano” where he was artistic director for three years. In 1992-93 he was a fellow of the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome, in 2003 he was composer in residence in Mannheim, in 2005 was composer in residence in Sapporo, and since 2011 has been elected one of three house composers of the Royal Concertgebouw Orkest in Amsterdam. He holds lectures and composition classes in Aspen, Montepulciano, Melbourne, Jakarta and Sapporo, and currently lives in Berlin.
The Cabrillo Festival debut of his work will take place with two performances of Three Songs without Words on Sunday, August 10, at Mission San Juan Bautista.
More on Detlev Glanert can be found on Boosey & Hawkes’ website.
photo: Ronald Knapp