Detlef Heusinger

Portrait of telefon Heusinger
Year of birth, place
1956, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Detlef Heusinger (*1956, Frankfurt am Main / Germany) is one of the most versatile composers of his generation. He studied composition, conducting, musicology, German language and literature, and philosophy, as well as guitar, lute, and piano at the conservatories in Bremen, Cologne, and Freiburg, and at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg. His most important teachers were Hans Werner Henze and Klaus Huber (composition), Francis Travis (conducting) and Hubert Käppel (guitar). For his compositional activities he received numerous prizes such as the Music Prize of the City of Stuttgart and scholarships such as that of the Villa Massimo (Rome), the Cité des Arts (Paris), the Heinrich Strobel Foundation of the SWF (Freiburg) and the Baldreit Scholarship (Baden-Baden). He taught at the Musikhochschule in Bremen from 1990 to 1996. He has been a guest lecturer at the Vienna University of Music, Harvard University, Goldsmith University and the Université de Montreal.

From 1991 onwards, he has also been active as a director and, for a time, as head of the Rossini Festival on Rügen, staging operas by Handel, Heusinger, Rossini, Donizetti, Saint-Saëns, Offenbach, and Britten in Germany, France, Austria, Poland, and Switzerland. As producer and film director of »Pandora I&II« he created his first video opera for Radio Bremen in 1993, followed by »Sintflut« for the Donaueschinger Musiktage (SWR) in 2001.

From 2006 to 2022, he was the artistic director of the SWR Experimentalstudio. During this time, he founded the matrix Academy and was in charge of the Giga-Hertz Award, which was initiated by Peter Weibel. As a conductor, he was also responsible for a large number of (premiere) performances of works by Mark Andre, Dániel Péter Biró, Chaya Czernowin and Vito Zuraj, among others. Since 2009, Heusinger has been director of the ENSEMBLE EXPERIMENTAL, with which he recorded Luigi Nono's »Risonanze Erranti« for the NEOS label for the first time (awarded the German Record Prize in 2011).

His compositional work centers on the music theater works »Der Turm« (1989, Theater Bremen/RB), »Babylon« (1997, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Nationaltheater Mannheim/SWR), »Lulu/Alban Berg - 3. Akt« (2019, Theater Bremen), »JUKEBOXOPERA« (2021, Theater Freiburg/SWR) as well as the dance theater pieces »Materialermüdung« (1989, Stuttgarter Ballett), »Volx Muzak« (1993, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Reinhild-Hoffmann-Compagnie). In 2022, the family opera »ZEITREISEMASCHINE« followed at the Bregenz Festival and the video opera »ODE« at the Schlosslichtspiele Karlsruhe.

As a composer and conductor, he is engaged at such diverse festivals as Ars Electronica (Austria), Berliner Festwochen, Borealis Festival (Norway), Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Donaueschinger Musiktage, KLANG Festival Copenhagen, musica nova Helsinki, Roma Europa Festival (Italy), SALT Festival Canada and Warsaw Autumn. As an electric guitarist, he has performed as a soloist with the hr-Sinfonieorchester, among others.  As a sound director, he has made appearances at the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival and Royal Albert Hall with conductors such as François-Xavier Roth and Kent Nagano. Performers of his compositions include the Arditti Quartet, Auryn Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Resonanz, Ensemble Dal Niente, Israel Contemporary Players, hr-Orchester, ORF-Orchester, DSO Berlin and SWR Sinfonieorchester.