The Berlin composer, pianist and accompanist Aribert Reimann was encouraged by musician parents. He studied composition with Boris Blacher and Ernst Pepping and attended the summer courses for new music at Darmstadt. As an accompanist he was soon working with the leading singers of the day, an art he taught in Hamburg and in Berlin while also working as a repetiteur.
Reimann has written works for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, including settings of Ingeborg Bachmann and Cesare Pavese, and a Requiem using the liturgical text and parts of the Book of Job. He has written works for solo singer and orchestra or instrumental ensemble, as well as settings of poets from Eichendorff to e.e. cummings and Paul Celan for singer and piano. He has also added to the small repertoire of works for unaccompanied voice, including settings of texts by Sylvia Plath and Paul Celan.
Reimann won particular fame for his Shakespearean opera Lear. Other operas include Ein Traumspiel (‘A Dream Play’) and Die Gespenstersonate (‘The Ghost Sonata’) based on Strindberg, Melusine, Troades based on Euripides by Franz Werfel, Das Schloss (‘The Castle’) after Kafka, and Bernarda Albas Haus (‘The House of Bernarda Alba’) after Lorca. He has also written ballets.
Reimann’s orchestral music includes concertos for cello, for violin and for piano, and a Double Concerto for violin and cello. He has written chamber music for various instruments and works for piano and for organ.