Hans Werner Henze is one of the most influential composers of our time. His work spans opera, chamber music, concert works and ballet.
A constant theme in all his music is politics. The German was forced into the Hitler Youth by his Nazi father at the age of 12, it scarred the artist for life.
“ I don´t often listen to my earlier works. Sometimes there is a moment when I ask myself: did I really do that? Was I that great?”
He was influenced by Mozart and had a pioneering attitude to his work. He later drew inspiration from Mahler, Stravinsky, Bartok and jazz. Unhappy in Germany he went in to exile in Italy in 1953 and shared his life with his partner of 40 years, Fausto Moroni.
He composed around 20 operas his last one ‘‘Gisela” premiered in 2010 and the composer called it musical theatre for the young generation.
The 1984 production of his seventh symphony saw a reconciliation between Henze and his homeland.
He died on October 27th, 2012, in the German city of Dresden.