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Neuwirth, Olga

Stage works
Orchestra works
Ensemble works
Chamber music
Vocal music
Solo works


Hommage à Klaus Nomi
Version 2
Chamber orchestra version (2009)
2 Fl. Cl. Bcl. 2 Tpt. 2 Tbn. 2 Perc. 2 Synth. E-Guit. Vln I. Vln II. 2 Vc. 2 Db
1. So simple; 2. Remember; 3. Can't help it; 4. Cold Song; 5. The witch; 6. Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte; 7. Wasting my Time; 8. You Don't Own Me; 9.Total Eclipse
Sy. 4135

Version 1
Songs for countertenor and small ensemble, compiled and arranged by Olga Neuwirth (1998)
Ct. Bcl. Tpt (Picctpt). 2 Synth. Sam. Perc. E-Guit. Vc. Db (Vc., Db. el. amplifyed).
1. So simple (after: Simple Man by Kristian Hoffmann); 2. Remember (after: Death from Dido und Aeneas by Purcell / Tate);  3. Can't help it (after: Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß... / Falling in Love again by Friedrich Holländer); 4. The witch (after: Ding Dong from: The wizard of Oz by Harold Arlen)
World Premiere: 10.8.1998, Salzburg
Duration: 40’
Sy. 3394

THE OUTCAST – Homage to Herman Melville
A musicstallation theatre with video 
Libretto by Barry Gifford and Olga Neuwirth
With monologues for Old Melville by Anna Mitgutsch
Ishmaela (high soprano), Old Melville (actor), Ahab (baritone), Father Mapple (actor), Queequeg (countertenor), Bartleby (chansonnier), Starbuck (tenor), Stubb (Buffo baritone), Pip (Boy soprano), Ship's Carpenter (actor), Boys’ Choir (24) / Men’s Choir TBarB (8. 8. 8.) 2 (Picc). 2. 2 (B, Es, BCl). 2 (CBn) / 2. 2. 2. 1. /  E-Guit. Acc. Sythnesizer / 2 Perc. / 8.8. 6. 6. 4. / electronical playback 
Duration: full length
Sy. 4117

American Lulu (2006-2011)
Overall concept and new interpretation of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu by Olga Neuwirth (2006-2011) 
Music of act I and II adapted and re-orchestrated by Olga Neuwirth
Music and text for act III by Olga Neuwirth and translated into English by Catherine Kerkhoff-Saxon
Texts of act I and II adapted by Olga Neuwirth and Helga Utz using English translations by Richard Stokes and Catherine Kerkhoff-Saxon
Lulu (high soprano), Eleanor (Blues singer), Dr. Bloom (Heroic Baritone), Jimmy/Young Man (Young heroic Tenor), Painter (Lyric Tenor), Clarence (Bass). Athlete (Heroic Buffo bass), Professor/Banker (speaking part), Commissioner (Speaking part) - 1 (Picc). 0. 1. (in B, in E flat). BCl. Ssax. Asax. Barsax. 0. / 0. 2. 2 (TTbn, BTbn). 1./ 2 Perc. Jazz-Perc. / Syn. E-Guit. Sampler / 2. 2. 2. 2.2 
Duration: full length
World Premiere:  30.09.12 / Komische Oper Berlin
Sy. 4126

Bählamms Fest (1997/98)
Music theatre in thirteen pictures 
Text: Elfriede Jelinek after Leonora Carrington
Mrs. Carnis (A), Philip (Bar), Theodora (S), Elizabeth (S), Jeremy (Ct), Robert (T/Sprecher), violet (Ms/Speaker), Henry (speaker), Spinne, Fledermaus/ kleines Mädchen (2 boy’s voices)
1 (Picc, Bfl, with live-el.). 0. 1 (Basset.Hn). BCl (with live-el., D.B.Cl, childrensax). Ssax (Tsax, Bsax). 1 (D.B.n, childrenokarina). / 1 (children instr). 2 (Cl.Tr, child tr). 1. 1 (with live-el., children instr). / 2 Perc. / E-Guit (2. E-Guit). / Acc. Pno (Cel, Synth). 1 Theremin-vox / 2 vl. 1 vla (vla d’am). 2 vc (children instr). 1 (child rattle). / live-el. / Sam. / Films / videoscreen
live-electronic: IEM Graz, Peter Böhm (Vienna)
World Premiere: 19.6.1999, Vienna
Duration: full-length
Sy. 3356


Masaot/Clocks without Hands (2013/2014)
for orchestra
World Premiere: Cologne, 06.05.2015
Duration: 20‘
Sy. 4287

anaptyxis (2000)
for orchestra
Picc. 2 (Picc). 0. 3. BCl. 2. D.B.n / 4. 3. 2. BTbn. 1. / Hp. 4 Perc. / 16. 14. 12. 10. 8. (5.-8. 5-string)
World Premiere: 17.4.2000, Munich
Duration: 14’
Sy. 3479

Clinamen / Nodus (1999)
for orchestra
Cel. 5 Perc. / Strings: 16. 14. 12. 10. 8.
World Premiere: London, 26.1.2000
Duration: 15'
Sy. 3469

Photophorus (1997)
for two e-guitars and orchestra
2 E-Guit.
3 (2 Picc, Afl). 2. 2. BCl. 2. D.B.n. / 4. 4 (Cl.Tr). 4. 1. / 3 Perc. / 12. 10. 8. 8. 6.
World Premiere: 24.10.1997, Munich
Duration: 14’
Sy. 3320

Sans soleil (1994)
Distorting mirror for two ondes martenot, orchestra and live electronic
2 Ondes Martenot
3 (2 Picc, Afl). 1. 2. BCl. 1. C.Bn. / 3. 3. 3. 1. / 3 Perc. Cel (Key). / 10. 8. 6. 6. 4. / live-el.
World Premiere: 8.10.1994, Graz
Duration: 18’
Sy. 3325

ENSEMBLE WORKS (6 instruments and more)

Maudite soit la guerre - A Film Music War Requiem (2014)
after the movie of the same name by Alfred Marchin (1914)
Cl. Tpt. Tbn. E-Gtr. Synth. Sampler Perc. Vln. Vla. Vc.
World Permiere: 10.11.2014, Paris
Duration: 50’
Sy. 4339

Ishmaela’s White World (2011/12)
S (high S).
Fl (Picc). Cl. Ssax (Tsax). TTbn (Trgl). Pno. Hp. Perc. Cb.
World Premiere: 16.3.2012, Karlsruhe
Duration: 11’
Sy. 4168

Hommage à Klaus Nomi
Chamber orchestra version (2009)
2 Fl. Cl. Bcl. 2 Tpt. 2 Tbn. 2 Perc. 2 Synth. E-Guit. Vln I. Vln II. 2 Vc. 2 Db
1. So simple; 2. Remember; 3. Can't help it; 4. Cold Song; 5. The witch
World Premiere: 24.07.2010; RSO Vienna, Jochen Kowalski
6. Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte; 7. Wasting my Time; 8. You Don't Own Me; 9.Total Eclipse
World Premiere: 24.07.2010, Vienna
Five more songs (World Premiere: Märzmusik Berlin, 7.3.2008):
5. Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte; 6. Wasting my Time; 7. You Don't Own Me; 8. Cold Song; 9. Total Eclipse
Sy. 4135

Construction in space (2000/2001)
for 4 soloists, 4 ensemble groups and live-electronic
Soli: BCl (D.B.Cl). Bfl. Ssax (Tsax, BrSax). T. in F
Ensemble: Fl (Picc). Ob. 2 Kl in B (2. Also in E flat). Bn. Hp in F. 2 Tpt in B (1. also small Tpt. in high B). 2 Tbn (2. with quartvalve). 2 Perc. Pno. Sampler. E-Guit (also Hawai-Guit). 2 vl. vla.. 2 vc. D.B.
World Premiere: 13.9.2001, Innsbruck
Duration: 40’
Sy. 3526

The Long Rain – a video opera with surround-screens (1999/2000)
for four soloists, four ensemble groups, live-electronic 
After a story by Ray Bradbury
Soli: BCl (D.B.Cl). Bfl. Ssax (Tsax, BrSax). Tb in F
Ensemble: Fl (Picc). Ob. 2 Kl in B (2. Also in E flat). Bn. Hp in F. 2 Tpt in B (1. also small Tpt. in high B). 2 Tbn (2. with quartvalve). 2 Perc. Pno. Sampler. E-Guit (also Hawai-Guit). 2 vl. vla.. 2 vc. Kb.
World Premiere: 19.10.2000, Graz
Duration: 45’
Sy. 3493

Suite für Theremin und ensemble aus "Bählamms Fest“ (1997-99/00)
Solo: Theremin vox; ensemble: Fl (Picc, Bfl). SSax (BrSax). Cl (Basset.Hn. in F). BCl (D.B.Cl). Bn (CBn). / Hp. Tpt. in B (small Tpt. in high B). Tbn. Tb./ 2 Perc. Pno. (Cel). E-Guit. (2. E-Guit). / 2. 0. 1. 2. 1.
World Premiere: 19.7.2000, New York
Duration: 25’
Sy. 3480

Instrumental-Inseln aus "Bählamms Fest" (1997-99/00)
for ensemble and live electronic; ensemble positioned in the center of the performance space
Fl (Picc, Bfl; with live-electronic). Cl (Cl in E flat, Basset.Hn.). BCl (D.B.Cl; with live-electronic). SSax (TSax, BrSax). Bn. (CBn, Okarina). / Hp. 2 Tr (1. Also small Tr in high B). Tbn. Tb (in F, with live-electronic). / 2 Perc. E-Guit (2. E- Guit). Acc. Pno. (Cel). / 2. 0. 1. 2. 1.
World Premiere: Vienna, 8.4.2000
Total duration: ca 40'
Sy. 3461 

Elfi und Andi (1997)
Text: Elfriede Jelinek
For speaker, e-guitar, double bass, bass clarinet, saxophone and two playback-CD’s (voice from tape: Marianne Hoppe)
World Premiere: Witten, 26.4.1997 / Duration: 33'
Sy. 3361

for ensemble in three groups and playback-CD 
Fl (Afl, Picc). BCl (Cl). Basset.Hn. Hp. Tr (Picctr). Tbn. Perc. Pno. 2 Vl. Va. 2 Vc. 
World Premiere: Berlin, 14.3.1997
Duration: 15'
Sy. 3342

for three soloists and three ensemble formations 
BCl (Cl. in B). E-Guit. Barsax (Ssax, Tsax)./ ensembles: 1. 0. 2 (BCl). 0. / 1. 1. 1. 1. / 2 Perc. Pno (Cel). / 1. 0. 1. 2. 2. (plus additional instr.)
World Premiere: 22.10.1995, Donaueschingen
Duration: 14’
Sy. 3305

LA VIE – ... ULCÉRANT(E) (1995)
for two countertenors, viola d’amore, violoncello, double bass, e-guitar and bass clarinet
Text: Georges Perec (from: ”L’ulcération” and ”La vie, mode d’emploi”)
World Premiere: 30.9.1995, Royaumont
Duration: 11’
Sy. 3306

for ensemble with audio tape 
1 (Picc, Afl). 0. 2 (2 BCl). Barsax (Tsax). 0. / 1. 1. 1. 0. / 2 Perc. / 2. 0. 0. 2. 2. / tape (8 K).
World Premiere: 9.10.1993, Graz
Duration: 17’
Sy. 3324

Aufenthalt (1992/93)
An oratorio in six parts for soprano, female and male speaker, ensemble and tape
Text: Elfriede Jelinek (from: „Raststätte oder Sie machen’s alle”)
S. T. 2 Spr (F.vx. Mst).
Cl (BCl). Barsax (Asax). TTbn (BTbn). Perc. Cel. (Pno). 2 Vc. / (all el. amp.) /
tape. video (ad lib.). / theatre version possibly
World Premiere: 24.6.1995, Stuttgart
Duration: 18’
Sy. 3304


Kloing! (2007/2008)
For computer-controlled piano (CEUS by Bösendorfer), live-pianists (and live-video)
World Premiere: Weimar 28.8.2008
Duration: 37'
Sy. 4295

voluta / sospeso (1999)
for basset horn, clarinet, violin, violoncello, percussion and piano
World Premiere: 19.10.1999, Munich
Duration: 14’
Sy. 3463 auras... in memoriam H. (1999)
2 Vl. perc (ad lib).
World Premiere: 22.11.1999, Munich
Duration: 12’
Sy. 3467

Settori (1999)
for string quartet
World Premiere: 23.6.1999, Munich
Duration: 5’
Sy. 3450

Ondate (1998)
for saxophone quartet
World Premiere: 25.2.1998, Boston
Duration: 13’
Sy. 3392

Fondamenta II (1998)
Hommage à Joseph Brodsky for two bass clarinets and violoncello (or two bass clarinets and violoncello)
World Premiere: New York, 15.4.1998
Duration: 8’
Sy. 3484

Fondamenta (version for two bass clarinets and violoncello) (1998)
Sy. 3484

Ondate II (1998)
for two bass clarinets
World Premiere: 11.11.2001, Wellington
Duration: 7’
Sy. 3470

Pallas / Construction (1996)
for three percussionists and live-electronic
World Premiere: 20.10.1996, Vienna
Duration: 25’
Sy. 3338

Quasare / Pulsare (1995/96)
for violin and piano
World Premiere: 17.3.1996, Vienna
Duration: 8’
Sy. 3337

Akroate Hadal (1995)
for string quartet
World Premiere: 4.10.1995, Graz
Duration: 13’
Sy. 3307

Five Daily Miniatures (1994)
for countertenor, bass clarinet, piano, violin and violoncello
Text: Gertrude Stein
World Premiere: 10.9.1994, Royaumont
Duration: 9’
Sy. 3323

vexierbilder (1993/94)
Fl (Picc). Cl (BCl). Ssax (Barsax). Tbn. live-el.
large video-projection ad lib. (also version for A-DAT-tape and effect-processor)
World Premiere: 25.2.1994, Vienna
Duration: 10’
Sy. 3326

Portrait of a composition as a young ape
for violoncello and percussion, tape; video screens 
World Premiere: 1.5.1992
Duration: 12’
Sy. 3344


Two duets from „Bählamms Fest” (2000)
Soli: 2 Ct. or S. Ct.; Ensemble: BCl. E-Guit. Pno. Ala d’am, Vc.
World Premiere: 22.3.2000, Cologne, WDR
Duration: 12’
Sy. 3460

...morphologische Fragmente... (1999)
for soprano, clarinet, violin, violoncello, piano and percussion
Text: from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s "Morphologie"
World Premiere: 26.5.1999, Frankfurt
Duration: 11’
Sy. 3446

Zwei Räthsel von W.A.WITH (1999)
for coloratura soprano, alto, viola, violoncello, six zimbels, audio tape and live electronic
Text: W. A. Mozart, Leopold Mozart
World Premiere: 11.2.1999, Venice
Duration: 5’
Sy. 3454

Hommage à Klaus Nomi (1998)
Songs for countertenor and small ensemble, compiled and arranged by Olga Neuwirth
Ct. Bcl. Tpt (Picctpt). 2 Synth. Sam. Perc. E-Guit. Vc. Db (Vc., Db. el. amplifyed).
1. So simple (after: "Simple Man" by Kristian Hoffmann);
2. Remember (after: "Death" from "Dido und Aeneas" by Purcell / Tate); 
3. Can't help it (after: „Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß..." / "Falling in Love again" by Friedrich Holländer); 
4. The witch (after: "Ding Dong" from: "The wizard of Oz" by Harold Arlen);
BCl., Tpt. in B (also in high B), perc. (1 Sp.), E-Guit. (with multi effect processor), Vc. (amp.), D.B. (amp.); 2 Synth., Sampler
World Premiere: 10.8.1998, Salzburg
Duration: 40’
Sy. 3394

Nova Mob (1998)
for six female voices (S I, II. Ms I, II. A I, II) and six cassette recorders after a text by William S. Burroughs. Alternative version for soprano, mezzo-soprano, counter tenor, tenor, baritone, bass and six cassette recorder.
World Premiere: Vienna, 26.11.1997
Duration: 13'
Sy. 3391

Nova / Minraud (1998)
for soprano with playback tape after a tape by William S. Burroughs
World Premiere: 5.7.1998, Schloß Hohenheim
Duration: 10’
Sy. 3406


incidendo/fluido (2000)
for piano and playback-CD
World Premiere: Vienna, 1.4.2000
Sy. 3496

for baritone saxophone
World Premiere: 17.5.2001, Zurich
Duration: 8’
Sy. 3681

Spleen II (1999)
for bass flute
World Premiere: 20.3.1999, Frankfurt/M.
Duration: 8’
Sy. 3453

SPLEEN (1994)
for bass clarinet
World Premiere: 18.9.1994, Schwaz
Duration: 8’
Sy. 3327

For more works of Olga Neuwirth, please go to Boosey&Hawkes.

Olga Neuwirth was born in 1968 in Graz, Austria, and studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as well as painting and film at San Francisco Art College. Her composition teachers included Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail, and Luigi Nono. She gained international prominence in 1991, at the age of 22 when two of her mini operas with texts by Nobel prize-winner Elfriede Jelinek were performed at the Vienna Festwochen. Since then her works have been presented worldwide.

Highlights include two portrait concerts at the Salzburg Festival (1998); her multi-media opera Baa-Lambs Fest (1993/1998) after Leonora Carrington; Clinamen/Nodus for Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra (2000); composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival in 2002 and 2016; world première of her music-theatre work Lost Highway (2003), after David Lynch which won a South Bank Show Award (ENO at the Young Vic, 2008); and two new operas while living in New York (2010/11) – The Outcast – Homage to Herman Melville and American Lulu, based on Alban Berg’s ‘Lulu’.

For over 30 years Olga Neuwirth’s works have explored a wide range of forms and genres:  operas, radio-plays, sound-installations, artworks, photography, and film-music.  In many works, she fuses live-musicians, electronics, and video into audio-visual experiences.  Among numerous prizes, she was the first-ever woman to receive the Grand Austrian State Prize in the category of music (2010). 

Le Encantadas from 2014 is an immersive electronics/space/ensemble work receiving multiple performances throughout Europe.

Masaot/Clocks without Hands, for the Vienna Philharmonic under Daniel Harding, was premièred in 2015 in Vienna and New York at Carnegie Hall as co-commissioner, conducted by Valery Gergiev; the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser Möst performed the work in Autumn 2019.

The BBC Proms programmed Aello-ballet mecanomorphe in August 2018 for Claire Chase and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Most recently her new opera Orlando after Virginia Woolf was premiered at the Vienna State Opera in December 2019. The first commission to a woman in the 150-year history of the house was named ’World Premiere of the Year’ by the magazine Opernwelt.  A new work for orchestra, countertenor, and children’s chorus ‘Keyframes for a Hippogriff – in memoriam Hester Diamond’ was commissioned for a world premiere by the New York Philharmonic in May 2020. Sadly, that performance was postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Photo: Harald Hoffmann