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Neuwirth, Olga

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


Orlando (2017-2019)
– eine fiktive musikalische Biografie –
Libretto by Catherine Filloux and Olga Neuwirth
based on Virgina Woolf
Singers: 2S.3Ms.Ct.3Bar.3B.2Act, 4Chr (male, female and children’s chorus with each 24 voices and children’s chorus with 16 voices)
Orchestra: 2.2.3.asax.2 - - 3perc - - - - 12 stage musicians
World Premiere: 08.12.2019, Vienna

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 
World Premiere: 14.11.2018, Vienna
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 
World Premiere:  30.09.12 / Komische Oper Berlin
Duration: full length
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


Keyframes for a Hippogriff - Musical Calligrams in memoriam Hester Diamond
for countertenor, children’s choir and orchestra
2.2.3.asax.2 - - 3perc - 2synth.e-git.samp -
World Premiere: New York, 28.05.2020
Duration: 25’
Sy. 5727

Trurliade - Zone Zero (2016)
for drum kit and orchestra
World Premiere: Lucerne Festival, 27.08.2016
Duration: 33‘
Sy. 4470

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)

Die Stadt ohne Juden (2017)
for amplified ensemble and tape
World Premiere: 07.11.2018, Vienna
Duration: 87‘
Aello - ballet mécanomorphe (2017)
for solo-flute, 2 muted trumpets, string ensemble, keyboard and typewriter
fl - - - 1perc - 1synth -
World Premiere: 08.02.2018, Örebro, Sweden
Duration: 18 Min.

Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie
for six distributed ensemble groups, samples and live electronics
2 fl. 2 ob. 2 cl. sax. 2 bsn. / 2 hn. 2 tpt. 2 t.-trb./b.-trb. / 2 perc. / 2 piano. e-git. / 3 vl. 2 vla. 2 vc. db.
World Premiere: Donaueschingen, 18.10.2015
Duration: 80'
Sy. 4338

for blues female singer, drum kit and ensemble
World Premiere: Salzburg, 07.08.2015
Duration: 25’
Sy. 4411

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


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.
2 Vl. perc (ad lib).
World Premiere: 22.11.1999, Munich
Duration: 12’
Sy. 3467

for string quartet
World Premiere: 23.6.1999, Munich
Duration: 5’
Sy. 3450

for saxophone quartet
World Premiere: 25.2.1998, Boston
Duration: 13’
Sy. 3392

Fondamenta II
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)
Sy. 3484

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

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

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

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

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

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


Magic Flu-idity (2018)
for solo flute (and typewriter)
fl, tape (or perc)
Duration: 13 Min.
World Premiere: 01.03.2019, New York

for piano
World Premiere: Amsterdam, 28.09.2016
Duration: 10’
Sy. 4459

Weariness heals wounds I (2014)
for viola solo
WP: 06.11.2014, Paris
Duration: 11'
Sy. 4337

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
for bass flute
World Premiere: 20.3.1999, Frankfurt/M.
Duration: 8’
Sy. 3453

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 Graz, Austria, in 1968. 

She studied at the Academy of Music in Vienna and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During her stay in the States she also attended the San Francisco Art College, where she studied painting and film. Her private teachers in composition included Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail and Luigi Nono. She first burst onto the international scene in 1991, at the age of 22, when two of her mini-operas were performed at the Wiener Festwochen. Ever since her works have been presented worldwide. 

In 1998 she was featured in two portrait concerts at the Salzburg Festival within the framework of the Next Generation series. The following year, her music theatre work Bählamms Fest, with a libretto by Elfriede Jelinek after a play by Leonora Carrington in a set-design by the Brothers Quay, premiered at the Wiener Festwochen and won the Ernst Krenek prize. A year later, she wrote Clinamen/Nodus for Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra. 

In 2002 Olga was appointed composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival and let her music be remixed by DJ Spooky, which was not common at all in the so called “Classical New Music”-Scene at that time. 

With Nobel Prize winning novelist Elfriede Jelinek she has created two radio plays and three operas. 
Neuwirth has often been inspired by Anglo-American culture. For instance, her music theater Lost Highway, which had its world premiere in 2003, was based on David Lynch's film of the same name and won a South Bank Show Award for the production presented by English National Opera at the Young Vic in 2008. 

Olga Neuwirth’s works explores a wide range of forms and genres and are multi-layered and rich of colours. In many of her works since the early 1990s, she fused live-musicians, electronics and video into genre-crossing audio-visual experiences. 

Since Olga Neuwirth was a teenager, she has also been interested in film, literature, science, architecture and the visual arts. Aside from composing, and cause of this wide interests she has also realised sound installations, art exhibitions and short films; one of her multi-media installations was presented at the documenta 12 in Kassel in 2007. Also a prolific writer, her diary of living in Venice/Italy was published in 2003 and a selection of her essays were published in 2008. 

She has also collaborated in the experimental jazz/improvisation world with Robyn Schulkowsky (f.e. a collaborative work for the opening of “Graz, cultural capitol of Europe 2003”), David Moss and Burkhard Stangl. 

Aside from her operas, Olga Neuwirth’s most notable works include the ensemble piece with live-electronics Construction in space, the piano concerto locus….doublure…solus… and the trumpet concerto …miramondo multiplo…

Several recordings of her music have been released on the labels Kairos and col legno. 

Beside having received numerous prizes, in 2010 she was awarded, as the first woman in Austria ever in the category of music, the “Austrian State Prize”. She is member of the “Akademie der Künste” in Berlin and Munich. 

Olga Neuwirth lived in San Francisco, New York, Prague, Paris, Venice, Trieste, Vienna and Berlin. 

In 2012 Olga Neuwirth completed two new operas while living in NYC: The Outcast on Herman Melville, and American Lulu, a re-interpretation of Alban Berg’s Lulu which was also presented in a new production in Bregenz, Edinburgh and London in August/September 2013. She is currently working on two filmmusics and a new work for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Masaot/Clocks without Hands, written for the Vienna Philharmonic, received its premiere in Cologne in may 2015 under the baton of Daniel Harding. It was also performed in Vienna and Luxembourg and in february 2016 at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Valerij Gergiev.

Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie for 6 ensembles and (live)electronics which is co-commissioned by Ensemble Intercontemporain, Cité de la musique, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Donaueschinger Musiktage, IRCAM, Lucerne Festival and Wiener Konzerthaus was premiere in fall 2015. After a concert at Holland Festival it is presented within Festival Musica Straßbourg and Wien Modern.

Her percussion concerto (Roche-Comission) was premiered under the baton of Susanna Mälkki with Victor Hanna at the Lucerne Festival 2016 where she was featured as composer in residence. Further concerts were held at Musikfest Berlin and Wien Modern.

In February 2018, her new flute concerto Aello - ballet mecanomorphe for the Swedish Chamber Orchestra und Clare Chase (fl) was premiered. Olga is currently working on a new opera for Vienna State Opera (2019).

Photo: Harald Hoffmann