Rolf Liebermann (1910 - 1999)

A great-nephew of the painter Max Liebermann, Rolf Liebermann was born in Zurich. He studied music privately, subsequently as a pupil and then assistant of Hermann Scherchen. Occupying important administrative positions in broadcasting in Switzerland and in Germany, in 1959 he became general manager of Hamburg State Opera. From 1973 to 1980 he held a similar position at the Paris Opéra, continuing to make a significant contribution to the staging of new operas and to the direction and filming of works from the established repertoire.

Stage Works

Liebermann’s compositions date from the earlier period of his life and to the period after his time as an opera administrator. His earlier operas include Leonore 40/45, Penelope and Die Schule der Frauen (‘The School for Wives’), the last based on Molière; later works include Freispruch für Medea (‘Acquittal for Medea’).

Vocal and Instrumental Music

Vocal compositions by Liebermann include Chinesische Liebeslieder (settings of translations from Chinese), Medea-Monolog, and more experimental works. His early interest in jazz is heard in his Concerto for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra. His concertos for cello and for piano were written in the 1990s, and his 1964 electro-acoustic Concerts des échanges makes idiosyncratic use of serial technique, involving the participation of 156 office machines.