Gottfried von Einem, born on January 24, 1918, is one of the few Austrian composers of the twentieth century to gain worldwide renown. Einem cannot be classified as belonging to any particular school or movement of twentieth-century music.
He always strove to write his ”own” music, regardless of whether the public considered it too modern or too conservative. His opera Dantons Tod was a sensation when it premiered at the 1947 Salzburg Festival, and brought the composer international acclaim. This was followed by other equally successful operas, in particular Der Besuch der Alten Dame, based on a story by the Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt. In 1980 his mystery opera Jesu Hochzeit provoked public controversy, from which Einem did not shy away, but countered self-confidently. Einem’s autobiography, Ich hab’ unendlich viel erlebt (I Have Experienced So Very Much)', also appeared in 1995. The composer, who in addition to operas wrote ballet, choral, orchestral and chamber music as well as lieder, died on July 12, 1996 in Oberdürnbach in the province of Lower Austria.