The Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann mourn the death of Hans Werner Henze

The musicians of the Staatskapelle Dresden mourn the death of Hans Werner Henze. The orchestra and its principal conductor received the news of their Composer-in-Residence’s death after arriving in Taipeh during their tour of Asia.
30.10.2012

Thielemann, whose friendship with Henze dates back several years, appointed Henze as Composer-in-Residence for his first season with the Staatskapelle. Following the death of Henze, Thielemann expressed himself as “deeply affected. I last met with Henze just a few days ago as he attended our performance of his orchestral work, ‘Sebastian im Traum’ in the Semperoper. That was once again such a meaningful visit. We had no idea it would be his last trip. I am thankful to have known him for so long – for me he was the most prominent German composer since Richard Strauss.”

Hans Werner Henze left his Italian home on October 15th to attend a symphony concert in the Semperoper. The next day he suffered a feeling of faintness and was taken to a hospital in Dresden. He died there on October 27, 2012.

“His death in Dresden is of great concern to us all, and will remain so even beyond the current season,” expressed Matthias Wollong, 1st Concertmaster of the Staatskapelle Dresden. “His music has held special significance to the concert and opera planning of the Staatskapelle for decades. It is astonishing to think about his exceptional compositional style for a symphony orchestra. I am very fortunate and thankful for the many experiences I have shared with him.

Henze has also conducted the Staatskapelle on multiple occasions since the 1960s.

As Composer-in-Residence, Hans Werner Henze’s works are being performed in a special manner throughout the Staatskapelle’s symphony and chamber concerts this season. The composer’s works are additionally being emphasized by the Semperoper, which began its season with a new production of the Opera, “We come to the river” and is currently performing the ballet, “Das Vokaltuch der Kammersängerin Rosa Silber.” Henze wanted to compose a new orchestral work for the Staatskapelle and Christian Thielemann: “Isoldes Tod” was to be premiered at the 2013 Salzburg Easter Festival, followed by performances in Dresden and other prominent European music capitals.

“The preparation for this concert season involved close dialogue with Maestro Henze and his management,” said Tobias Niederschlag, Artistic Programmer for the Staatskapelle. “I believe he was very happy that we honored him this season by emphasizing his works in such a diverse and extensive way. We spoke to him toward the beginning of September about the new orchestral work he wanted to compose for the Staatskapelle. He had already worked intensively with the theme and was looking forward to once again collaborating with Christian Thielemann.”

On November 24, 2012, the Staatskapelle and Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra will perform a joint-concert in the Dresden Frauenkirche with excerpts from Henze’s “Requiem. Neun geistliche Konzerte.” Throughout the planning process, nobody could have anticipated that this concert – under the direction of Vladimir Jurowski – would now be for Henze’s own requiem.

“We have lost one of the best,” expressed Jan Nast, Managing Director of the Staatskapelle, in Taipeh. “We will dedicate the remaining concerts of our tour in Asia to him and furthermore cherish his remembrance with honor. Hans Werner Henze is already an important part of our orchestra’s history.”