Born: August 11th, 1938
Country of origin: Austria
The contemporary music theatre is required to equally challenge the imagination, the sensitivity towards enjoyment and the rationality of the theatregoer. (Ingomar Grünauer)
Ingomar Grünauer was born in Melk (Austria) on 11 August 1938. His musical training led him to the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts from 1950-1961 where he studied conducting with Hans Swarowsky as well as piano and composition. Between 1957 and 1961 he attended the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music. In the following years Ingomar Grünauer worked as a musical director, répétiteur and composer of incidental music at the Heidelberg theatre. In 1968 he left the theatre to work as a teacher at primary and secondary schools; during this time he composed further incidental music and wrote his first compositions for music theatre. In the summer of 1974 the University of Salvador/Bahia (Brazil) invited him to teach ’Scenic Music’ as a guest lecturer. In 1982 he was appointed Professor of Aesthetics and Communication at the Faculty of Social Work of the Frankfurt Fachhochschule; until his retirement in 2001 his research and teaching focussed on theatrical work and cultural animation.
Grünauer's oeuvre concentrates on the music theatre. In 2006 the opera Cantor - Die Vermessung des Unendlichen, commissioned by the Halle Opera, was performed for the first time. The work focusses on the tragic life of the mathematician Georg Cantor who worked as a professor at the University of Halle from 1872 to 1913. The composer himself calls the one-act opera an artist's drama in which Cantor's 'vacillation between absolute euphoria in his visions of the freedom of thinking and his falls into a deep depression' appears as an existential crisis.
Grünauer's operas Trilogie der Sommerfrische (1998) according to Carlo Goldoni as well as Winterreise (1994/1996) were the results of his productive collaboration with the librettist Francesco Micieli. Winterreise, commissioned by the Lucerne Stadttheater, was premiered at the International Music Festival of Lucerne in 1994. The starting point of the plot is Walter Benjamin who spent the last night before his suicide at the French-Spanish border while attempting to escape the Nazis. At the core of the musical material is a motif derived from the song 'Wegweiser' from Franz Schubert's Winterreise cycle. The libretto too establishes links to Schubert's lied composition: stylistic motifs of coldness, strangeness, loneliness. As with the Cantor opera, Grünauer already acted as both librettist and composer in his opera works König für einen Tag according to Calderón and Hugo von Hoffmansthal (1990) and Amleth und Fengo (1982, commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs of Baden-Württemberg). Two commissions of the Basel Theatre resulted in the composition of the chamber operas Die Schöpfungsgeschichte des Adolf Wölfli (1982) and Die Mutter based on Maxim Gorky's novel of the same name (1988).
Commissioned by the Wiesbaden Hessisches Staatstheater, Grünauer composed the ballet Peer Gynt (1978) according to Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Grieg. Among Grünauer's concertante works are Palermo Musik for accordion and orchestra (2001) as well as Sinfonietta on texts by Franz Kafka for mezzo-soprano, tenor, solo clarinet and orchestra (1986).
Ingomar Grünauer has received various awards and prizes for his works, including the First prize of the International Composition Competition of the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts in 1960, the Kulturwochenpreis of the city of Innsbruck in 1966 and the Encouragement Award of Lower Austria in 1969. In 1982 Grünauer received the Arts Award of the city of Wiesbaden where he worked as composer in residence at that time.