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Einem, Gottfried von (1918 - 1996)

Gottfried von Einem is one of the few Austrian composers of the 20th century to gain worldwide renown, although he cannot be classified as belonging to any particular school or movement. He is known chiefly for his operas influenced by the music of Stravinsky, Prokofiev and jazz, but he also composed pieces for piano, violin and organ.

Gottfried von Einem always strove to write his "own" music, regardless of whether the public considered it too modern or too conservative. His opera "Dantons Tod" ("Danton's Death") was a sensation when it premiered at the 1947 Salzburger Festspiele, and it brought the composer international acclaim. This was followed by other equally successful operas, in particular "Der Besuch der Alten Dame" ("The Visit"), which was based on a story by the Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

In 1980 his mystery opera "Jesu Hochzeit" provoked public controversy, from which von Einem did not shy away, but countered self-confidently. Von Einem’s autobiography "Ich hab’ unendlich viel erlebt" ("I Have Experienced So Very Much") appeared in 1995. The composer, who in addition to opera wrote lieder, ballet, choral, orchestral and chamber music, died on 12th July 1996 in Oberdürnbach in the province of Lower Austria.