Johannes Fritsch

(b. 27 July 1941, Auerbach [Bensheim] – d. 29 April 2010, Bonn).

German composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic works that have been performed throughout the world; he was also active as a violist.

Prof. Fritsch studied musicology, philosophy and sociology at the Universität zu Köln from 1961–65 and studied composition with Bernd Alois Zimmermann, as well as viola, at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne from 1961–65. In addition, he attended the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt and the Kölner Kursen für Neue Musik.

Among his honours are the Förderpreis from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (1966), the Prix de la Biennale de Paris (1971), a residency at the Villa Massimo in Rome (1976), the Förderpreis from the city of Cologne (1977), the Kammermusikpreis from the city of Braunschweig (1977), and the Robert-Schumann-Preis from the city of Düsseldorf (1981).

As a violist, he was a member of the Stockhausen Ensemble from 1964–70, with which he toured extensively and made an appearance at Expo '70 in Ōsaka in 1970.

He was also active in other positions. He co-founded with Rolf Gehlhaar and David Johnson the Feedback Studio Köln in 1970 and founded the Feedback Studio Verlag in Cologne in 1971, which posthumously became edition johannes fritsch in Bonn in 2010. He served as editor of the Feedback Papers. He served on the board of directors of the Institut für Neue Musik and Musikerziehung in Darmstadt from 1974–98 and organised the WELTMUSIK-Kongresse in Vlotho in 1979, 1982, 1984, and 1986.

He taught music theory at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne from 1965–70. He served as director of a class in composition and the Seminar für Neue Musik at the Akademie für Tonkunst in Darmstadt from 1971–84, during which time he also taught media aesthetics and universal harmonics at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne. He lectured at the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 1974, 1984 and 1986. He taught as Professor für Komposition at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne from 1984–2006.

In addition to the works listed below, he composed incidental music for many plays from 1967–2006.


Website: (mostly in German)



Die Regel war UnabänderlichEin Requiem (ballet, choreography by Jochen Ulrich), fixed media, 1975–76

Der Große Gesang (ballet, scenario by Pablo Neruda, choreography by Jochen Ulrich), mezzo-soprano, countertenor, speaker, amplified trombone, amplified guitar, amplified percussion, fixed media, 1979–80 (also concert version)

Litanei I, actor, bass drum, fixed media, 1994

Aschenbrödel (opera in 2 acts, libretto by Robert Walser), 1989–95

Große Litanei (flutist, percussionist also speak), actor, flute, celesta, bass drum, percussion, 2 computer-controlled player pianos, live electronics, 1999


Concerto da camera, amplified violin, 12 strings, 1964

Modulation 2, small orchestra (13 players), fixed media, live electronics, 1967

Konzert, trumpet, orchestra, 1975

Die Hugenotten (Konzert), cimbalom, violin, orchestra, fixed media, 1978

Kreuzgänge, 1983

Konzert, cello, orchestra, 1985

Passacaglia, symphonic band, 1993

Herbstlicht (Zwei Szenen), 1994–95

Konzertstück, 2 percussion, orchestra, 1999


Duett für Bratsche, viola, fixed media, 1961

Madrigal triste (after Charles Baudelaire), oboe, fixed media, 1963

Nachtmusik, violin, viola, cello, double bass, 1963

1. Klaviertrio, violin, cello, piano, 1964

Partita, amplified viola, live electronics, 1965–66

Modulation 1, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, 1966

Concerto battuto, percussion, ensemble (3 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, double bass), 1967

September 70 (grand quartet after Friedrich Kuhlau) (two flutists must be females, two flutists must be males), 4 flutes, piano, 1970

Sul G (Oktober 70), flute, piano, 1970

Violectra (live-electronic improvisation), viola d'amore, synthesizer, 1971

Sul B, cello (with special tuning), piano, 1972

Hochtöner, flute, viola, synthesizer, percussion, fixed media, 1974

Trio, trombone, viola, piano, ring modulator, 1977

Ode, percussion, fixed media, live electronics, 1980

Flute Klang, alto flute, live electronics, 1981

Kyo-Mu, shakuhachi (bamboo flute from Japan)/tenor recorder/alto flute, fixed media, 1982

Testament Vivier, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, piano, fixed media, 1983

Cello Duo I, 2 cellos, 1983 (also version as Viola Duo, 2 violas, 2004)

Streichquintett, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, 1984

Musik für Sankt Georg, double bass, organ, 10 glass chimes (instruments by Volker Staub), 10 Eisenbleche (instruments by Volker Staub), 1985

2. Klaviertrio, violin, cello, piano, 1985

Cello Duo II, 2 cellos, 1987

X '88, viola, cello, double bass, 1988

Quartett, flute, 2 pianos, percussion, 1989

Trio, bass clarinet, double bass, piano, 1990

Noël für drei Flöten, flute (+ alto flute, bass flute), 1990

Wandlung (1), alto flute, bass clarinet, 1990

Quintett, alto flute, bass clarinet, viola, cello, piano, 1991

Wolfsklänge, violin, 2 cellos, piano, fixed media, 1991

Das Bittersüße Büchlein, oboe, double bass, accordion, 1992

Play VII, 12–24 wooden flutes, zither, 2 angklung (sets of bamboo tubes from Indonesia), 1993

Trio, saxophone, guitar, double bass, live electronics, 1993

VIII '94, alto flute, temple bell, 1994

Trio, clarinet, 2 cellos, 1996

Modulay für Ugly Culture, saxophone, guitar, double bass, 1996

RM'96, alto flute, cello, piano, ring modulator, 1996

Nachthelle, viola, cello, double bass, synthesizer, 1997

Transformationen, 8–10 double basses, 1997

Fremdes Lied, bass clarinet (+ soprano saxophone), hurdy-gurdy, 1997

Quintett, alto flute, bass clarinet, harp, violin, cello, 1998

Ess am Tiez, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 1998

Infra, any low sounds, synthesizer ad libitum, 1998

Haïkaï, 2 bass clarinets, percussion, fixed media, 1998

Piazza Celestina, celesta, 1999 (also version for harpsichord)

Streichquintett, 2 violins, viola, 2 cellos, 1999

Monophonie-Varianten, any 3/4 winds, 1999

Zeit, clock, 2000

12'9901'00, trombone, percussion, 2000

Quintet, English horn, clarinet, double bass, piano, percussion, 2000

Sonett, violin, piano, 2000

Tubæ, 2 bass tubas, 2000

Kernspin, percussion, fixed media, 2000

Osteophonie, 4 percussion, 2001

Quintett, alto flute, bass clarinet, viola, cello, piano, 2003

Ciacona, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, 2 organs, glass harmonica, 2004

Fistula mortale, bone flute/recorder/piccolo, 2005 (also version as Fistulæ mortale, 2 bone flutes/recorders/piccolos, 2005–06)

Streichtrio, violin, viola, cello, 2006

Acht Spuren im Spiegel, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), French horn, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, fixed media, 2006

Tromba marina, alphorn ad libitum/2 alphorns ad libitum, tromba marina, 2006


Versöhnung (text by Rose Ausländer), mixed chorus, alto flute, bass clarinet, double bass, percussion, 1981

Laudate Dominum, 5 mixed voices, ensemble ad libitum (2 violins, viola, cello, double bass), 1982

Epigraph (ein Grabstein für Igor Strawinsky), 5 mixed voices, bass drum, 1982

Nagori, mixed chorus, shamisen (3-string lute from Japan), 1987

Prediger 3, 4, 4 female voices/4 boys' voices, 1994

Yokohama, 4 mixed voices, alto flute (+ piccolo), trombone, 2 percussion, live electronics, 2001


Bestandteile des Vorüber (text by Max Bense), soprano, bass clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trombone, bass trombone, bass tuba, 3 double basses, 1962

Filigranfalter, countertenor, 12 strings, 1963

Akroasis, 2 voices, news reader, barrel organ, music box, jazz band, large orchestra, live electronics, 1966–68

Lied, voice (+ piano), live electronics, 1969–70

Von anderen Planeten (text by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), speaker, shakuhachi, orchestra, 1976

Der Große Gesang (text by Pablo Neruda), mezzo-soprano, countertenor, speaker, amplified trombone, amplified guitar, amplified percussion, fixed media, 1979–80 (concert version of stage work)

Fragmente über den Tod (text by Miguel Ángel Bustos), soprano, speaker, viola, cello, piano, 1982

Der Rote Ahorn (texts from fairy tales from China), speaker, percussion, 1983

De profundis, soprano, countertenor, alto flute, bass clarinet, 2 trombones, cello, double bass, organ, 2 percussion, 1987

Hohes Lied, mezzo-soprano, countertenor, alto flute, A-clarinet, trombone, 3 tree trunks, 1988 (also version for mezzo-soprano, countertenor, A-clarinet, organ, 3 tree trunks, 1988)

Wandlung (2), bass, alto flute, 1991

Trio vom Ende (text by Samuel Beckett), bass, alto flute, percussion, 1992

Magnificat, mezzo-soprano, countertenor, bass, alto flute, bass clarinet, viola, cello, double bass, percussion, 1995

Traum (vier Lieder, text by Federico García Lorca), soprano, speaker, English horn, French horn, cello, piano, 1998

Litanei II (performer also speaks), flute/percussion, 1999 (also version [both performers also speak] for flute, percussion, 1999)

III. '99, soprano, percussion, 1999


Ikonen, 3 pianos, 1964

1. Klavierstück, 1969

Klavierstück 2, prepared piano, 1978 (also version as Klavierstück 22, 2 pianos, 1990)

Yesterday, 1991

Klavierstück 3, 1992

Klavierstück IV, 1998


Übersetzung von Emotion in Proportion, 1973 (collaboration with Rudolf Knubel)

Im Dunkel dem werdenden Herzen, 1974, revised 2006

Damals (text by Samuel Beckett), organ, fixed media, 1992

IX'99X, 1999


Piazza Celestina, 1999 (version of work for celesta)


Fabula rasa, fixed media (4 tracks), 1964

Modulation IV, fixed media (4 tracks), 1968

Schnitte, fixed media, 1971

Radiostück 1 (text by Armand Gatti), fixed media, 1971

Musica mundana, fixed media, 1973

Mattina romana (Originaltonstudie), fixed media, 1976

Run Tits, fixed media, 1977


Augenblicke, 1972 (Ottomar Domnick)


Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 1978 (Michael Mrakitsch)

Skyline, 1978 (Volker Landsberg)