Volker Heyn

(b. 13 December 1938, Karlsruhe).

German composer of mostly orchestral, chamber and vocal works that have been performed throughout the world.

Mr. Heyn studied voice with Walter Neugebauer in Karlsruhe from 1957–60 and acting at the Savitzky Actors School in Melbourne from 1961–63. He studied guitar privately with Antonio Losada in Sydney and music theory with Don Andrews at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music of the University of Sydney from 1966–70. He then studied guitar at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe from 1971–77, where he also studied composition with Eugen Werner Velte.

Among his honours are a fellowship from the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart (1981), a fellowship from the Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg im Breisgau (1982) and the Rolf-Liebermann-Opernstipendium (1988, a commission to write Geisterbahn).

He is also active in other positions. He worked various jobs in Australia, including as a shift labourer in a steel mill and as a member of a traveling theatre-company that presented original productions, both with and without music, for two years in the 1960s. He was later a member of the Gruppe kreative Musik of Eugen Werner Velte in Karlsruhe in the 1970s.

He lectured at the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 1984 and 1986 and gave concerts and lectures in Australia in 1987 and in Kyōto in 1993–94.

He lived in Australia from 1960–71, but has once again lived in Germany since 1971.

His publisher is Breitkopf & Härtel, for some early works, and Ricordi München, for most music written after 1995.


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Geisterbahn (opera in 1 act, libretto by the composer), soloists, small orchestra (17 players), fixed media, 1989

Kowalski's Katz oder the Rest of the fuckin' Story (instrumental-theatre work), electric guitar, electric cello, bass guitar, electronic keyboard, percussion, fixed media, live electronics, 2000–03


tem, 1980

Eezy Comma (Raumfassende Phonie), large orchestra (111 players), 1981

Dükarrahsch Mongkhöhr, large orchestra (79 players), fixed media, 1984

Ferro canto, large orchestra (97 players), fixed media, 1989, revised 1991

00.17'00", orchestra (13 winds, 4 trumpets, 2 pianos, 6 percussion, 8 double basses), 1998–99


Break, 4 percussion, 1979

Blues in B-flat, cello, 1981

Drihmthoyhm (Raumakustischer Alptraum), 2 clarinets, tárogató (clarinet from Hungary), 2 saxophones, 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 3 or more percussion, 1982

Nachtschicht, cello, double bass, 3 percussion, 1982

Phryh, piano, ensemble (3 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass), 1982

Laxus, viola, cello, double bass, 1983

Rozs, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, 1983

Sirènes, string quartet, 1983

Sifflet, piccolo, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, piano, percussion, 1983

K'mon Siggibêybe, cello, ensemble (flute [+ piccolo], oboe [+ English horn], clarinet [+ contrabass clarinet, saxophone], trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, double bass), 1985

Sandwich Gare de l'est, saxophone, 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1985

Buon Natale, fratello Fritz, soprano saxophone (+ tenor saxophone), 1985

Blah 2, violin, fixed media, 1985

Quêtsch, accordion, 1986

Reb David, Wife and Wolf, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, double bass, 1986–87

Panische Walzer #8 und 9, contrabass clarinet (+ clarinet), baritone saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), bass tuba (+ euphonium), violin, double bass, accordion, 1990

Tjuub, tuba, 1992

SRA, 2 pianos, 2 percussion, 1994

PSYC, 6 winds, 3 percussion, 1995

Vermutungen über ein Rotes Haus, electric guitar, electric violin, 1995

...NTO., violin, 1995

Inserzioni, saxophone, cello, 1997

Core, cello, 1997

SYZ, percussion, ensemble (2 electric guitars, 2 pianos), fixed media, live electronics, 1997

Rites, 2 oboes (both + English horn), 3 clarinets (all + contrabass clarinet), soprano saxophone (+ baritone saxophone), bassoon, 2 5-string double basses, 2 percussion, 1998

Graffiti, Risse, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1998–99

Cordas, Strings, 12-string steel guitar, violin, cello, piano, harpsichord, percussion, 1999–2000

Pezzo, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, harp, guitar, double bass, accordion, 2000

Resurrection #1, double bass, piano, fixed media, 2000

Burroughs' Bellows, bass guitar, electric accordion, 2000

gettin' dizzy, Großbass recorder (by Joachim Paetzold) (+ alto recorder), bass transverse flute (+ piccolo, dizi [transverse flute from China]), boombox/fixed media, 2000

Ohne Titel 1, cello, 2001

Bass Affair, bass guitar, 2001–02

Myth Maker #1, saxophone, double bass, accordion, 2002

makes yer wanna, piccolo, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 French horns, trumpet, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, 2003

Les Visages des Enfants, string quartet, amplification ad libitum, 2002–04

Ohne Titel 2, cello, 2004

2nd 'blue' string quartet, string quartet, 2005

K'TEN, violin, double bass, piano, percussion, 2005

electric cat, electric guitar, fixed media, 2006

Reverb, azure #1, harp, 12-string steel guitar (+ electric guitar), 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass (+ bass guitar), piano (+ electronic keyboard), 2 percussion, fixed media, 2007

Short Story on a Higher Key, violin, accordion, 2008

Mashyhn, contrabass clarinet, saxophone, contrabassoon/tuba, violin, viola, double bass, piano, percussion, 2010–11

WHY NOW, electric guitar, 2011

CLIXX, piano, percussion, 2011

refract, violin, 2016

trace, viola, 2017

Notes on Delusion, drum kit, fixed media, 2018


SMPH, soprano, contrabass clarinet (+ clarinet, baritone saxophone), violin, double bass, percussion, 1989

Klagen und Zorn der Mama Moisch (text by Shmuel Apfelbaum), soprano, 2 clarinets, 2 saxophones, percussion, 1991

Max the Fiddler's Complaint (text by Shmuel Apfelbaum), mezzo-soprano, 2 electric guitars, amplified viola, amplified double bass, 1991

Notizen einer blassen Sängerin (texts by George Orwell, everyday speech, dictionary), female voice, 5 pianos, 7 percussion, fixed media, 1993

I(na), female voice (+ percussion), electric guitar, 1994

eclipse of reason (text by Jean Ziegler), female voice, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, electric guitar, 2 violins, viola, double bass, bass guitar, piano, quarter-tone piano, electronic keyboard, 2 percussion, 2008–10


Tap, 1985–86

203.., 1996


Kaffeefahrt zum Kühlturm (happening), voice, toy organ, tuned oil barrel, metal plates, fixed media, 1986

Did yer hear that? (after Franz Liszt), actor (+ suspended piano), fixed media, 1986

The Raven (open-ended happening), scrap metal, dredging machine, live electronics, 1997–2000

Water music (open-ended happening), piano, seaport, 2000


Quêtsch. Teodoro Anzellotti, accordion (Koch International Classics: KIC-CD-3-1356-2, 1994)

...NTO.. (RAI Milano/Teatro alla Scala, 1996)

Blues in B-flat. (Albedo: ALBCD 013, 1999)

Panische Walzer #8 und 9. musikFabrik (Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik 2002, documentation CD, 2002)

Kowalski's Katz oder the Rest of the fuckin' Story. Katarakt (Katarakt, 2004)

Buon Natale, fratello Fritz. (en-avant, 2005)

Break. (BM: 14.9002)

I(na). (Signum MusiContact: SIG x 74-00)

SMPH. Christina Ascher, soprano; Ensemble Köln (Thorofon: CTH 2094)